Stephen Rees's blog

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

Metro Vancouver especially vulnerable to climate-change flooding: report

with 9 comments

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

9 Responses

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  1. Stephen, I notice how you judiciously refrain from attributing blame in this warning of the effects of global warming: you are wise . . .

    IPCC caught red handed

    . . . unlike other blog-istas, Rafe Mair, Damien Gillis, David Beers, Patrick Condon, Bill Rees, David Susuki who go hissy-fit-bananas as the mere threat with their love-fest-pet-theories.

    Ice core tests show over millenium the earth cools, the earth warms: the Bible tells of massive floods and storms and parched deserts when everyone was riding camels so you are right to tread lightly.

    Besides there are so many urgent issues that need addressing . . .

    . . . before they concoct more scary fairy tales to soak us out of more taxes . . .

    Have fun!

    Roger Kemble

    September 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

  2. I have decided to leave Roger Kemble’s response, in the spirit of letting him condemn himself out of his own mouth. Anyone who cites the Bible and then accuses others of concocting fairy tales has lost any semblance of credibility.

    There are, of course, all sorts of things I do not say – or write. It is a bit presumptuous to assume my reasons for silence. But mostly I am trying not to be long winded.

    Stephen Rees

    September 30, 2011 at 11:10 am

  3. Oh Stephen, Stephen of course the bible is full of partisan rhetoric but I quote from much more . . .

    Anyway there is good reason to believe that the good book may be a record of ancient events with out going “all fundie”.

    Good heavens man are you so afraid of your own credibility you have to go all accusatory-hyper?

    “letting him condemn himself” is over the top . . . don’t be silly . . , no one is condemning anyone!

    Roger Kemble

    September 30, 2011 at 11:33 am

  4. One assume that anyone quoting the Bible had only read it in the original language….or, at the very least, has compared successive versions in several languages …

    At Edward Kennedy funeral his grandchildren referred to him in French as “un grand fromage”. Unfortunately in French a cheese is just a cheese, NEVER ever an important person..

    Trying to translate philosophical concepts and parables from centuries ago faithfully–so to speak–is nearly impossible, especially when one isn’t aware of the cultural background of the times.
    Not to mention that the medieval monks that copied old manuscripts by candlelight weren’t multilingual historians and linguists and, as more educated men than I have said, couldn’t help get many words wrong.

    Just looking at genealogical records of my own family, going back to the 18th century and handwritten in a tiny script, or trying to decipher a single sentence in old English, French etc. makes me understand the difficulty.

    The Italians of old had a saying: “a translator is a traitor”

    Red frog

    October 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm

  5. Not to mention that the Bible was only written for people that lived in a well defined part of the world. North America and other parts of the world were Terra incognita then. Therefore it doesn’t apply to us.

    Seriously now…too many politicians have only one goal: to be re-elected..Whatever happens in 40 years from now is of no interest to them. Even Harper has forgotten many of his dearly held beliefs, as they weren’t too popular..
    As an aging Louis XV famously said to someone asking him if he wasn’t worried about the future “apres moi le deluge”

    Red frog

    October 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm

  6. “I have decided to leave Roger Kemble’s response, in the spirit of letting him condemn himself out of his own mouth.”

    Well done!


    October 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm

  7. “I have decided . . . ” whoooo-ah, how Biblical can you get? Next comes the thunderbolts . . .

    1. Ice cores and serious blogs are my preferred references but oh no the trained seals go for the Bible.

    2. When your correspondents show the courage of their convictions, and not hide behind pseudonyms, I will address their concerns.

    3. There is no, repeat NO, scientific consensus and until there is I will accept that the earth cools and the earth warms according to the cycles of the Sun: GW si, GC si . . . pero AGW nada . . . in the meantime get out of your gas guzzlers and practice what you preach . . . dumb asses . . .

    Thanqu, Now go feed at your respective troughs . . .

    Roger Kemble

    October 2, 2011 at 1:13 am

  8. PS . . . and hardly off the AGW topic . . . affordable housing!

    Now Tyee’s David Beer has come up with another distraction: affordable housing.

    Affordable housing is by no means unrelated to the AGW . . .

    . . . scam. In fact by driving families up the valley (check out the Mary Hill by-pass, Dewdney Trunk etc., rush hour) to find affordability they are forced into their gas-guzzlers at every turn: to say nothing of the wasteful, unintended use of the ALR.

    It’s in the use of rapidly diminishing resources too.

    On his version of affordable housing, Beers has dredged up this poor, deluded sod . . .

    . . . Avi Friedman, from McGill, to convince us the cause is building techniques etc.

    Now I have been in the housing design business for over sixty years and I can assure your readers building techniques have a peripheral effect, (in the first decade of the 21st century), on the final cost compared to exponentiating compound interest on the mortgage: do the math, it’s outrageous!

    Fractional reserve banking, the Ponzi, hits the market at every transaction thru digging the resource out of the ground, trucking the stuff, manufacturing, land cost, building to the final hit of them all . . . the maturing mortgage.

    I do not know what this guy is sucking on but it sure as hell isn’t coming out the other end!

    You want to tackle AGW excuses? Go for the Ponzi!

    Roger Kemble

    October 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

  9. Perhaps, Roger, you’d prefer to debate the authors of the policy linked below?

    After all, they’re committing serious public funds to combat the effects of climate change.

    WRT Richmond dikes, I suspect the raising of dikes will only increase their liability to sink into the soft alluvial soils. Salt water infiltration into the soils from below is also an issue to contend with. Now consider that most of the most productive agricultural soils in BC are located at low elevation in the Fraser Valley.

    Of course, when confronted by such large issues, many prognosticators chose to shoot the messenger or deny, deny, deny … and get paid under the table by special interests for doing so.


    October 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

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