UBC Undergraduate Research

Integration of climate change impacts and adaptation in British Columbia Environmental Assessment : research vs. reality in the case of mining Baatarkhuu, Anujin (Anu)


The primary aim of this paper is to evaluate the state of how climate change impacts and adaptation have been assessed in the British Columbia Environmental Assessment process as compared to what is recommended in the literature. Climate is an important component of the operating environment for the British Columbia mining sector. However, in recent years, mines across British Columbia have been affected by significant climatic hazards, which are viewed to be indicative of climate change. For the mine sector, climate change is a pressing environmental and business risk. The extent to which the mining sector is able to adapt to climate change will affect its long term success and prosperity, and have profound economic and social consequences for host communities. This paper draws upon approved Environmental Assessment applications reviewed in depth to characterize the vulnerability and adaptability of the British Columbia mining industry to climate change. Key findings discussed here are: how climate change is perceived by the mine sector practitioners and the literature community in terms of risks on mine projects; environmental factors that have been impacting these risks; and proposed adaptation strategies. Findings of this paper argue for greater collaboration among mining practitioners, regulators, scientists and other industry stakeholders to develop practical adaptation strategies that can be integrated into existing and future mine operations; cooperation among provinces’ Environmental Assessment offices by publishing a guide on current or expected climate Climate Change Impacts risks and planned adaptation strategies; include current and future environmental impacts on mine projects as a requirement in British Columbia Environmental Assessment applications; educate mine sector practitioners with appropriate knowledge on how to address and integrate uncertainties associated with climate change.

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