Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for September 30th, 2011

Metro Vancouver especially vulnerable to climate-change flooding: report

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The Vancouver Sun this morning picks up the federal advisory panel’s report on the economic cost of inaction on climate change and puts a local spin on it. Of course, this is a topic that this blog has been banging on about for a long time. I have long been convinced that “dikes were not designed with climate change in mind, so additional risk from climate change remains a concern.” Of course, whenever I said that in public that was instantly dismissed by people like Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie – or one of the BC Liberal MLAs, who all sing from  the same song sheet. Both federal and provincial governments pretend to be concerned – but not very convincingly since everything they do points in the other direction.

I think it is very telling that the Sun chooses a picture of the Richmond dyke on the Middle Arm  – since that is one of the few that has actually seen some enhancement, as a result of federal and provincial spending on the Olympics. A short section of raised dyke does nothing of course, any more than the Maginot Line defended France from invasion. The flood waters will simply slop around the raised section.

The annual cost of flood damage to dwellings in British Columbia by the 2050s is estimated to be between $2.2 billion at the baseline level to $7.6 billion under the “high climate change” scenario. That translates into an annual per capita cost of $565-$2,146 in B.C., relative to per capita costs of $108 to $364 nationally.

More than 80 per cent of Canadian homes at risk of flooding under the report’s most dire climate change scenario are in Metro Vancouver.

Canada can expect to pay between $21 billion and $43 billion each year by 2050 if it fails to come up with a domestic plan within a global agreement to tackle climate change, the report warns.

Middle Arm dyke at Hollybridge Way

Middle Arm dyke at Hollybridge Way - my photo on flickr

Written by Stephen Rees

September 30, 2011 at 9:17 am

Roberts Bank Coal Port

BNSF Coal Train at Roberts Bank yesterday

BNSF Coal Train at Roberts Bank yesterday - my photo

Roberts Bank Coal Port,  just outside of Vancouver BC, is North America’s single largest exporter of global warming pollution. It has rapidly carved out a role in the booming export of US thermal coal to Asia.  If there was a carbon-offshoring Olympics today, it would win the gold medal.  Oddly enough, the general public hardly knows it’s there.  We think that needs to change.

We’re negotiating a deal to post two billboards at the ferry terminal between Vancouver and Victoria in BC.  For one month, people waiting for the ferry would see these two images in rotation, with Roberts Bank just to the north.  We hope this will get some people turning their heads and thinking about our future and the role that BC plays in fueling the climate crisis.

Interested in helping make it happen? Visit

Kevin Washbrook
Voters Taking Action on Climate Change

coal bb image 5

coal bb image 3

Written by Stephen Rees

September 30, 2011 at 8:58 am