A new non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, assessing, and disseminating climate change information in the Prairie region has launched, and it will be financially backed by three provinces.
ClimateWest made its debut this week, and will focus on research and recommendations which address how communities in the Prairies can adapt to climate change. It will make climate data accessible to municipal planners, land use planners, and other institutional-level groups operating in the region.
The non-profit will be supported by research organizations such as Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, based at the University of Regina; Prairie Climate Centre, based at the University of Winnipeg; and International Institute for Sustainable Development.
According to ClimateWest executive director Jane Hilderman, all three Prairie provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba – helped with the establishment of the non-profit climate data centre, as well as the federal government and other organizations.
“I know climate can be a divisive topic,” Hilderman told Battlefords News-Optimist. “There is a strong consensus on the need to do this work. Hopefully, if we do it well, by investing today, you are going to save both hardship and public dollars down the road.”
ClimateWest will receive a total of $2.86 million over the course of three years. Hilderman also revealed that the government of Alberta has committed $400,000, while the government of Manitoba has committed $510,000, and the federal government is contributing $1.95 million.
In addition to the above funds, the executive director also noted that the governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are making in-kind contributions.
Battlefords News-Optimist reported that ClimateWest will join a network of climate change information hubs across Canada, such as Ouranos in Quebec and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in BC.