Physical and Environmental Science

Introduction: Context

Under the new Federal/Provincial/Territorial/Municipal Climate Resilient Public Infrastructure Investment Program, municipalities are eligible to apply for funding to higher orders of government to support public infrastructure projects. This program applies to projects that are aimed at enhancing the climate resilience of existing infrastructure, as well as the design and construction of new infrastructure. The total program has $30 Billion in its budget to allocate over the next 10 years. New capital projects costing $10 million or more are eligible for funding, with a $3 Billion maximum. Funding will be shared between Federal, Provincial/Territorial, and Municipal governments on an equal 1/3 -1/3-1/3 basis.

The National Federation of Municipalities has endorsed this program, and the City Council from the City of Metropolis is eager to tap into Federal and Provincial funding to support much-needed infrastructure improvements. The Provincial Governor is also onside, but only if the infrastructure projects are cost-effective and provides an acceptable level of climate protection over the life of the asset.

The City of Metropolis has been adversely impacted by extreme weather events in the past, and some key infrastructure assets are in need of repair and even replacement. It is also an area where climate change is projected to be significant with corresponding implications for social, economic and eco-systems, as soon as 2050 if not before. In response to this funding opportunity, the Mayor of Metropolis has instructed the City Manager’s Office to review infrastructure proposals currently on file and recommend which projects should be considered by City Council for submission to the Climate Resilient Public Infrastructure Investment Program in the New Year (March 2020). The City’s Environment and Planning Department has been tasked to present recommendations for one or two key infrastructure projects to Metropolis City Council at their next budget meeting in December 2019.

Assignment Task: Approach and methods

As the subject matter expert on climate resiliency employed by the City of Metropolis, you have been tasked by the City Manager and the Director of the Environment and Planning Office to provide a report outlining your infrastructure recommendations. A previously prepared report (Appendix A) developed by your team to help build the case for climate resiliency, can be used as a background document\template.

As there is no universal criterion for making good climate-related decisions, and essentially no “right” or “wrong” answers, you have decided that a “team” approach is needed that follows an open and transparent process that invites a wide range of expertise and views. Furthermore, based on an extensive literature scan, you have decided that two sources of information would be helpful in guiding the report and informing the recommendations. One is the standard Climate risk assessment process, and the other is a hierarchy of simple, complicated and complex risks and how these shape and inform decision making as outlined in the IPCC AR5.

Climate risk assessment is a decision support tool, based on ISO 31000 and adopted in ICLEI’s BARc tool and Engineers Canada’s PIEVC Protocol. The 5-step approach to climate-proofing (becoming more climate-resilient) can be applied to different spatial scales, from the national to regional, municipal, networks and systems, and individual infrastructure assets (Figure 1). When done correctly, the steps outline a process to engage internal and external experts, undertake a credible and transparent risk assessment, identify and select appropriate adaptation measures, outline an implementation strategy and plan, and build upon existing methods to monitor and report on progress. For each step, key questions that can guide the risk management process are provided.

To complete this assignment, review the Climate Risk Assessment of Public Infrastructure Projects in the City of Metropolis document.

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