Climate change is challenging our ecosystems, communities, and our economy. Wildfires, flooding, and drought have already challenged local infrastructure, caused economic losses, and posed health risks to communities.
In February of 2020, the Regional Districts of the North, Central, and Okanagan-Similkameen partnered with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability and developed a Climate Projections report for the region.
This report is intended to support a local understanding of how our climate is projected to change and inform regional planning on how to prepare for future climate events. In particular, climate projections for both the 2050s and the 2080s have been identified. Findings indicate that the Okanagan can expect significant changes to climate in the coming decades, including:
- Warmer temperatures year-round;
- Summers will be considerably hotter;
- Increased duration of growing season;
- Warmer winter temperatures;
- Increased precipitation across all seasons except summer;
- Summer is expected to remain the driest season and become drier; and
- We can expect shifting seasons.
Local Government Climate Action Program
The British Columbia Local Government Climate Action Program provides local governments and Modern Treaty Nations with predictable and stable funding to support the implementation of local climate action that reduces emissions and prepares communities for the impacts of a changing climate.
City of Vernon Climate Action Plan
The City of Vernon spent two years developing a Climate Action Plan through extensive research and public consultation. The Plan was endorsed by the City at its Regular Meeting on April 12, 2021. The Climate Action Plan is an excellent guide to strengthen and enhance the community: to be more walkable; to build infrastructure that will last; to prepare community members to respond successfully to emergencies; and to value and work with natural systems. For the most part, the actions identified in the Plan are applicable to all and could be undertaken by the Regional District, other Local Governments and residents within the North Okanagan. Rather than duplicating efforts, it was more beneficial to identify which actions should be pursued regionally, in partnership with the city, as well as identify those that could be considered at the local level.
On May 19, 2021, the RDNO Board of Directors endorsed the City of Vernon's Climate Action Plan and committed to annual prioritization and implementation of the Plan’s actions.