Climate Change Risks

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time.  Climate change impacts will have consequences for all Islanders, across all sectors of employment and our environment. We must take steps to prepare as the impacts of climate change continue to worsen. 

What is PEI doing to understand our risks from climate change? 

PEI has recently completed a province-wide Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).  A risk assessment helps the province better understand climate-related risks in PEI and develop appropriate measures to respond.

The CCRA identifies and prioritizes current and future risks related to seven specific climate hazards. The study determined that the most significant risks facing PEI result from the following climate hazards*:

  • coastal erosion, 
  • post-tropical storm, 
  • heat wave, and
  • intense rain and flooding. 

The study explored the likelihood of these hazards occurring both now and in 2050, and their consequences on health, social stability, environment, infrastructure and economic sectors. The CCRA also includes information on the unique climate risks to Indigenous communities on PEI based on interviews and reviews of existing studies.

*Note: Coastal flooding and storm surge are also a significant threat now and in the future for PEI.  However, coastal flooding and storm surges were addressed through a coastal hazard assessment that was underway when the CCRA was started.  Coastal flooding and storm surges are not included as a standalone climate hazard scenario in the CCRA.  Work will continue to integrate findings from both the CCRA and the coastal hazard assessment. 

What did the Climate Change Risk Assessment tell us?

The CCRA identified the priority risks of climate change. Risks are interconnected and will not affect all people on PEI in the same way. 

Climate change may also present opportunities for PEI, which should be considered alongside the negative impacts. 

Climate risks that PEI faces through 2050 are not fixed.  The results of the CCRA are likely to change as hazards are revisited, research continues, and plans to prepare for and live with the impacts are carried out.

What will happen next? 

The CCRA will help us set priorities and make decisions about how we can prepare for and adapt to climate change impacts.

The CCRA identified important risks from climate change, which will require all sectors to work together. Next steps could include:

  • expanding on the findings where more information may be needed; 
  • developing a province-wide adaptation plan and/or sector-specific adaptation plans; 
  • collaborating with local (municipal) and federal adaptation approaches; and 
  • integrating the CCRA findings into decision-making and investment planning.

Who conducted the Climate Change Risk Assessment? 

The CCRA was prepared for the Government of Prince Edward Island’s Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (EECA) by ICF Consulting Canada, Inc. and Shared Value Solutions with funding support from Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Program. 

ICF is a global consulting services company that is internationally recognized for expertise and leadership in climate and extreme weather vulnerability assessment and resilience planning. Shared Value Solutions is a human environment consulting firm based in Guelph, Ontario that specializes in Indigenous engagement.

Who was involved?

The project engaged with over 70 people from the following organizations and government departments who offered their time and expertise in support of this assessment:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 
  • Canadian Centre for Climate Services
  • City of Charlottetown 
  • ClimateSense Program 
  • DE Jardine Consulting 
  • Health PEI
  • Island Nature Trust 
  • Maritime Electric 
  • Natural Resources Canada 
  • Parks Canada
  • PEI Federation of Municipalities 
  • PEI Watershed Alliance 
  • Provincial Government of PEI (all departments)
  • University of PEI 
  • Wind Energy Institute of Canada

The project also worked with the citizens and leadership of Lennox Island First Nation, Abegweit First Nation, and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, who gave generously of their time and knowledge to inform this report.

Published date: 
January 11, 2024