Canada unveils new climate adaptation strategy with over $1 billion commitment | CBC News

Canada unveils new climate adaptation strategy with over $1 billion commitment | CBC News

Canada’s first Climate Adaptation Strategy, unveiled today, commits the federal government to new goals to prevent extreme heat deaths, reverse species loss and protect homes in areas prone to flooding and wildfire.

Environment Canada has released the Environment and Climate Change Strategy — which took nearly two years to prepare — for Prince Edward Island, one of the Atlantic provinces that felt the brunt of Hurricane Fiona in September.

The strategy envisions a country prepared to deal with the worst effects of climate change. The high-level document talks about multiple targets but does not provide any hard numbers. Instead, his goal is to pave the way for more detailed implementation plans to be rolled out later.

The government also announced $1.6 billion over five years in new funding to help jump-start the work that needed to be done. The money aims to improve disaster response, protect Canadians from extreme heat and health effects and increase the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

The funding required from the public and private sectors to address the effects of climate change in Canada is Estimated at $5.3 billion a yearAccording to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a trade association that represents the industry.

A federal official speaking in the background told reporters Thursday that the new funding is a “down payment,” and acknowledged that more is needed to achieve the strategy’s goals.

While governments and societies have been anticipating and planning for the impacts of climate change — ranging from droughts and floods to permafrost loss, failing infrastructure and stress on ecosystems — more needs to be done, according to the report.

“Our collective actions have often been inadequate or disjointed, and have not resulted in the speed and scale of adaptation required by communities in Canada,” the report says.

Include climate change in all decision-making processes

Hoping to reset the country’s approach, the report rests on several pillars: resilience, health and well-being, and nature and infrastructure.

Without going into details, the strategy defines several goals. For example, reducing the number of people affected or dying from floods, wildfires or extreme heat.

On the infrastructure front, the strategy calls for including “climate change in all decisions to locate, plan, design, manage, adapt, operate and maintain infrastructure systems throughout their life cycle.”

Firefighters struggle to contain a wildfire outside Leyton, British Columbia on July 14, 2022. (Submitted by Daniel Mondal)

When it comes to new construction, it commits the state to new guidelines and standards, especially in areas prone to wildfires, floods, and other weather hazards.

Broad goals have been set to halt and reverse nature and biodiversity loss. It states that indigenous communities must have opportunities to protect their traditional lands. The strategy calls for expanding urban forests and wetlands into city landscapes. These nature-based solutions have been shown to reduce emissions and reduce the effects of floods and heat waves on urban dwellers.

The strategy is meant to be a living document that the government promises will be updated every five years, along with progress reports as early as 2025.

Feeling the effects of climate change

Climate change has already had devastating effects on Canadians. In June 2021, western Canada witnessed a historic heat dome set a record temperature of 49.6°C in Lytton, British Columbia.

Environment Minister Stephen Gilbolt described Hurricane Fiona in September as “the most intense hurricane in Canadian history. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Lives have been lost, and that’s because of climate change,” he added.

Economic analysis shows that the effects of climate change will be severe, even if the world does not exceed the international target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. A recent United Nations report warned that the failure of individual countries to reduce their emissions is “driving the temperature of our planet to at least 2.5 degrees, a level that scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deemed catastrophic.”

The Canadian Climate Institute estimates that by 2025, the impact of climate change could reduce economic growth by $25 billion annually. Recently, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that even if the world met its emissions reduction commitments, Canada’s real GDP would reach 5.8 percent in 2100.

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