Climate Change Adaptation - City of Montreal Case Study

A new strategic initiative, sponsored by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and Natural Resources Canada, aims to help companies identify both risks and opportunities and adapt to the effects of climate change. In the first of a series of case studies, KKS helped CPA Canada to shed light on how climate change affects businesses and why accountants have an important role to play.

In 2015, the City of Montreal joined the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders making voluntary commitments to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Joining the Compact reflects the City of Montreal's recognition that climate change will affect the region. Over the next century, projected climate changes for the Montreal region include more rain and more frequent heavy rainfalls, higher average temperatures, and longer heat waves. These changes can impact the local economy and residents' well-being.

The City of Montreal is adapting to the impacts of a changing climate, taking actions to minimize and respond to the effects of climate change. In December 2015, the Agglomeration of Montreal adopted a formal Climate Change Adaptation Plan which identified anticipated climate impacts and recommended adaptation actions for the 16 municipalities on the Island of Montreal, including the City of Montreal and its 19 boroughs.

The case study discusses multiple aspects of the adaptation plan together some of the key challenges faced while the City was developing it. For example, the plan identified tree planting as a key adaptation initiative. Trees reduce soil erosion and hold water, and therefore help manage heavy rainfall; they also cool hot areas. But under GAAP, trees often represent an operating expense rather than a capital investment. Imposing a significant operating expense upon the taxpayers within a single year is not optimal. On the other hand, considering this expenditure as a capital project would allow citizens to be taxed over the course of a few years, thus lessening the financial burden

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