As scorching, record-breaking heat continues to sweep Western Canada, a new federal assessment warns that extreme weather events, as well as the astronomical expenditures connected with them, would become much more common if the country does not prepare adequately for the terrible repercussions of climate change.
The “deep and lasting impacts” of Canada’s already warming environment, according to the 734-page report from Natural Resources Canada, will be noticed by people in various aspects across the country.
Extreme weather occurrences, such as the current hot wave in Western Canada, as well as altered rainfall patterns, rising temperatures, and rising sea levels, will “persist, and in numerous cases, will intensify over the coming decades,” the report reads.
According to the study, climate change would have an influence on all sectors of the Canadian economy, causing supply chain and production inefficiencies. Changing weather systems in other parts of the world might have a significant impact on food availability, economy, and immigration, all of which would put further strain on Canadian towns.
While the report’s stern warning offered suggestions for mitigating the effects of climate change, adaptation received a lot of attention.
While there is still discussion of climate change mitigation, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says Canada must now consider how to respond to some of the effects that are already being felt.
“Clearly, that means we have to be thinking about how we adapt to some of the impacts of climate change that we’re seeing today and that is already baked into what we’re going to see over the next number of years,” said Wilkinson in a press conference Tuesday.
Natural Resources Canada’s Fiona Warren voiced the same perspective in an interview with Global News on Monday.
“Climate change is happening now, most of the impacts are going to persist and in many cases, they will intensify,” she said. “So with this knowledge, we have a need to adapt now.”
According to the research, the urge for adaptation comes amid gaping gaps in Canada’s “preparedness” for the approaching climate crisis.
Extreme weather events such as severe heat waves, floods, and windstorms are projected to hit many places shortly, ranging from small towns to Canada’s largest cities.
The research also highlighted the country’s infrastructure as being particularly vulnerable, citing everything from highways to sewage and electricity lines as examples.
A surge in insurance claims for climatic conditions damage was used to forecast the economic costs of the climate problem, according to the report.
Insurance losses attributable to weather extremes averaged $400 million per year between 1983 and 2007. In comparison, between 2008 and 2018, the same losses totaled $1.9 billion every year.
The report did name Alberta as the “epicenter of extreme weather events” when it came to economic losses, citing a $3.9 billion insurance settlement for the Fort McMurray wildfire disaster in 2016, but it also stated that the province had been home to six of the ten “largest insured loss events” in Canada since 1983.
“Whether it’s floods or wildfires or the other impacts on our infrastructure, the costs are going to be tremendous and those costs can’t be borne by municipalities alone,” said Taylor Bachrach, the NDP MP of B.C.’s Skeena–Bulkley Valley.
“The federal government has to have the backs of municipalities and local governments across Canada rely heavily on property taxes to fund their infrastructure.”
If the government does not address greenhouse gas emissions in a “concerted” manner, the financial consequences of climate change would only worsen, he said.
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