RAIC joins professional associations to advocate for climate action
In the wake of a new Simon Fraser University report on The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and ICLEI Canada, have issued a joint statement to support integrated climate action in the built environment:
The recently released IPCC SR1.5 report is unequivocal: we are beginning to experience the impacts of climate change, and it will take “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to keep global warming below the crucial threshold of 1.5°C. As professionals, we have the opportunity and responsibility to address both climate change mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation (responding to the impacts we cannot avoid). Our associations have a crucial role to play in advancing ethics, awareness, practices and policies that support integrated action on climate change, due to our prominent roles in many aspects of the development and management of resources, ecosystems and communities.
As such, we acknowledge that climate change is causing a variety of unavoidable impacts, many of which are projected to increase in duration, magnitude and se-verity. In the years ahead, these impacts will affect the outcomes of professional decisions made today. There is widespread recognition that we must plan ways to adapt, and that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial if we are to minimize the risks – both types of actions are urgently required. Typically, mitigation and adaptation have been addressed separately; however, every opportunity to mitigate or adapt must be explored. Can an adaptation solution incorporate mitigation? Can a mitigation solution incorporate adaptation? Can thinking that incorporates both action streams as one process lead to transformative approaches?
Integrating these perspectives in a “Low Carbon Resilience” (LCR) lens to guide decision-making and best practices, where appropriate, can save time and resources, increase returns on investment, and generate economic, environmental, social, and health co-benefits. Ensuring the two streams of action are coordinated and cross-evaluated can also help to avoid risks and unintended consequences associated with advancing them separately.