INNOVATION July-August 2015
In 1988, the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the express purpose of assessing and reporting on the risk of human-induced climate change. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was released in 2014 and deals extensively with the threats associated with cli- mate change (see page 18–Conclusions of the IPCC). The IPCC assessment reports are based on the work of thousands of relevant experts and provide a consolidated source of peer-reviewed information. Where there is uncertainty in the data or the science, the assessment report explicitly identifies and quantifies it to the extent possible (see above, Figures 1 and 2–Global Average Surface Temperature and Global Mean Sea Level). Engineers and geoscientists can rely on information provided by the IPCC and regional scientific bodies such as the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) to identify and char- acterize climate change threats. The dominant climate-related threats for engineers and geoscientists in BC are expected to be related to sea-level rise, changing precipitation patterns (duration and frequency), extreme weather events, and temperature change. Engineers and geoscientists are actively engaged in developing materials to assist in the assessment of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, determining the risks to these assets and identifying ways to reduce those risks (steps two to four in the risk management framework). For example, APEGBC is work- ing with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to create professional practice guidelines for public infrastructure that may be susceptible to climate change. At a national level, Engineers Canada has published the national guideline, Principles of Climate Change Adaptation for Professional Engineers, and Engineers Canada’s Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) has devel- oped an engineering protocol and tool to aid in risk assessments. These efforts are intended to establish the standard of care that would be expected of APEGBC profes- sionals related to climate change adaptation. It is expected that these engineering inputs will be used by leaders who control resources or make the laws to determine the overall strategy and prioritization of the responses to climate change (step five in the risk management framework).
J U LY/AU G U S T 2 015
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