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Sustainability Consulting

  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies
  • Greenhouse Gas Verification
  • Climate Change Vulnerability
    and Adaptation


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Energy Efficiency

  • Energy Audits
  • Energy Modelling
  • Building Systems Analysis and Design
  • Sustainable Design


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Renewable Energy

  • Feasibility Analysis
  • System Modelling
  • System Design
  • Verification and I-V Curve Tracing


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Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation
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Adaptation:

At current levels and expected growth in the atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases (GHG), some degree of climate change will be experienced in all areas across the globe, resulting in increased temperatures, variation in precipitation and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Adaptation has therefore become a critical component to addressing the climate change problem and rising GHG emissions. Coping with the impacts from climate change will vary depending on the physical and socio-economic environment, with some areas and populations in better positions to implement adaptation measures. This is referred to as adaptive capacity. Understanding how these impacts will influence a community, city, business or organization, and of their adaptive capacity, is of critical importance. It is increasingly recognized that incorporating adaptation to climate change into decision-making and management decisions is not only necessary, but good planning and business practice.

While climate change presents significant risks to organizations, a proper strategy can be developed to better adapt to a changing climate. Municipalities and businesses that identify the unique risks and opportunities they will face early-on will be better positioned to make decisions that have positive social and financial implications as they adapt to future changes.

Vulnerability Assessments:

All human activity is very dependent on the resources provided from the natural environment. A vulnerability assessment can help a municipality or organization identify where the greatest threats and opportunities from climate change are likely to occur. IESC risk assessments are developed from international best practices and experience from work completed around the world. They examine how weather related events will impact the built, human and natural environments and the likely degree of such changes on these systems. Specifically, an IESC adaptation plan can be devised to prepare for and limit the potential threats from climate change and maximize opportunities.

A vulnerability assessment completed by IESC also helps to identify how the indirect impacts from climate change may affect businesses and municipalities, especially along supply chains, which is critical to understanding the full complexity of climate change vulnerability. Adaptation strategies may involve a combination of measures such as strengthening or constructing physical infrastructure (i.e. flood walls), ecosystem-based approaches (reforestation) or addressing a social component such as developing public education campaigns on climate change impacts and adaptation.

Mitigation and Adaptation

Investments in adaptation have lagged behind those made in mitigation. A significant amount of municipalities and organizations have carried out greenhouse gas quantifications in order to understand where their greatest sources of emissions are derived and have taken measures to reduce these emissions. Yet, the same has not been done on the adaptation side, critically overlooking important opportunities and potential risks to a company or community. Adaptation measures can complement mitigation strategies. Some examples are presented in Table 1:

Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies image

With the potential synergies between mitigation and adaptation strategies, it is best practice for both GHG quantification and a vulnerability assessment be carried out simultaneously.

Services:

IESC and its team of professionals can offer clients the opportunity to fully understand their vulnerabilities to climate change by carrying out a vulnerability assessment and assisting in developing policies and guidelines that incorporate climate change adaptation measures. Our methodology is a result of real international project experience and a collection of best practices from leading organizations in the field.

Depending on data availability, the vulnerability assessment may be based on historical data (past weather events), information from stakeholder consultations and the development of future climate and socioeconomic scenarios. Table 2 summarizes the steps that may be taken in a vulnerability assessment and the development of an adaptation project.

Steps in Vulnerability Assessment image

For the adaptation strategy, a strong emphasis is placed on identifying measures that have additional social and environmental benefits, especially those that reduce GHG emissions. The key to successful climate change planning is to determine the type and degree of risks posed to the entity and to identify the actions that are available to reduce those impacts.

Uncertainties For Adapting to Climate Change in Project Environmental Assessments

For further information please contact:

Livio Nichillo
(416) 628-4658 Ext.140
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