A new not-for-profit regional hub which will deliver climate information, data and adaptation guidance tailored to the prairie region launched on Tuesday.
ClimateWest aims to work with people, communities, businesses and governments in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta to help address both the risks and opportunities generated by climate change.
Jane Hilderman, executive director of ClimateWest, mentioned how this is coming around at a critical moment in one of Canada’s fastest warming regions.
With climate change already pushing limits, Hilderman said ClimateWest will work to offer tools and training to anyone so they can be informed on risk assessments and planning.
“It’s an important point that ClimateWest exists to be sort of a public champion for climate adaptation,” she explained. “We look forward to sharing the success stories from across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba more widely in the coming years.”
Innovative services offered by ClimateWest include providing climate analyses, hosting a help desk available to the public by email or phone to answer questions about climate data and information, and raising public awareness and knowledge of the value of climate change and adaptation.
The organization has received support from the governments of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and at the federal level. During Tuesday’s launch at a Zoom conference, Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change, announced that the federal government has committed $1.95 million over the next three years to support ClimateWest.
A number of collaborators are involved in the creation of ClimateWest including the Prairie Climate Centre, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC), a climate change research centre at the University of Regina.
Dr. Thomas Chase, interim president and vice chancellor at the University of Regina, said it’s a proud moment for PARC to be a part of this journey.
“Through this new partnership, the University of Regina will help build a multi-institution, multi-government collaboration for the meaningful application of research from our university,” stated Chase.
“PARC’s experience and expertise will help ClimateWest build climate resilience across the prairie provinces and spur demand for climate services in the region.”
According to PARC, the prairie provinces have witnessed 13 of Canada’s 20 most expensive weather-related events since 1983, resulting in billions of dollars in insured losses.