• Zaytseva, A., Sparling, E., Bodden, D. (2023). Climate Change Adaptation for Natural Gas and Propane Installations. Canadian Standards Association, Toronto, ON.

Executive Summary

Canada’s climate is changing. As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, they may affect the performance and condition of gas infrastructure. The risk of damage and service disruption — and the potential consequences for human health and safety — may worsen over time. However, if these risks can be identified early and better understood, then measures can be taken to help address them.

Codes and standards help to ensure that engineered systems are safely planned, designed, developed, and operated. Codes and standards must also support the appropriate management of risks that could arise, or worsen, because of the changing climate.

The codes and standards community is already taking action to help address such risks. For example, standards systems in Europe, North America, and other regions have led programs and developed guidance to help standards developers incorporate climate change considerations into codes and standards. In Canada, many codes and standards have been updated and others have been developed specifically to facilitate the use of climate change risk management measures.

This report further contributes to this work by presenting the findings of research on advancing climate resilience through the following Canadian gas sector codes:

  • CSA B149.1, Natural gas and propane installation code;
  • CSA B149.2, Propane storage and handling code; and
  • CSA B149.3, Code for the field approval of fuel-burning appliances and equipment.

Through a comprehensive literature review, interviews with stakeholders from the Canadian gas sector, and a series of focus group discussions with the Project Advisory Panel, the following hazards were identified as those of the greatest concern for natural gas and propane installations in Canada:

  • Floods;
  • Wildfires;
  • Heavy snow and ice events; and
  • Extreme temperature conditions.

A review of the role that codes, standards, and related solutions play in advancing natural gas and propane infrastructure’s resilience to climate change showed that effectively addressing climate change risks requires rethinking how systems are managed to identify opportunities for risk reduction or greater efficiency. To ensure codes and standards remain relevant and continue to serve their purpose despite the effects of climate change, the climate information used in their application must reflect the most recent historical climate data as well as appropriate scenarios of the future climate conditions projected to occur over the lifespan of the system, appliance, accessory, component, or equipment. In some cases, based on projected changes, specific risk mitigation (climate change adaptation) measures may be required.

The climate change adaptation recommendations for CSA B149.1, CSA B149.2, and CSA B149.3 include:

  • Developing an informative Climate Change Information Annex to: 
    • provide guidance on the interpretation and use of projected climate conditions and hazards (including priority regional climate hazards); 
    • facilitate access to existing and emerging sources of information on climate change and climate hazards; and
    • provide background and guidance on the use of established processes for climate change and infrastructure vulnerability and risk assessment, as well as adaptation and resilience planning.
  • Addressing weather- and climate-related considerations directly included in the codes by recommending the use of relevant standards and the best available regional historical and future projected climate data for siting and installation decisions. 
  • Providing updates on changes to climate-sensitive standards referenced by the codes. 
  • Enhancing institutional supports within CSA Group to regularly revisit the potential implications of climate change for the efficacy of the codes and standards that fall within their mandates, and to provide technical committees (TCs) and technical working groups (TWGs) with sustained and reliable access to expertise on climate-related topics, including: 
    • climate change; 
    • climate-related uncertainty; and 
    • integrating climate change adaptation considerations into standards.