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Climate change impacts could cost Canadian communities $43B per year by 2050: UBCO research

The environmental impact behind climate change is going to continue to cost Canadians more and more, new UBC Okanagan research finds.

Next year, climate change impacts like extreme forest fires, urban flooding and severe storms are estimated to have a price tag of around $5 billion.

By 2050, however, that number is expected to skyrocket all the way to $43 billion per year.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia

The research was conducted by working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to municipal adaptation planning across the country.

“Canada’s economic well being depends on adapting vital infrastructure to this new reality,” says Kevin Hanna, a UBCO professor and one of the project’s leaders.

“These effects are driving important planning discussions and decisions about how to adapt to a changing climate. More than half of local governments surveyed have initiated formal adaptation planning discussions in their community within the last four years.”

The 2018 Climate Change Adaptation Survey of Canadian Municipalities found that adaptation planning is more often undertaken as an as-needed basis.

As a result, very few local governments have one or more full-time staff dedicated to these types of adaptation or planning related initiatives.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia

“Responding to these changes will be expensive across the country,” says Mark Seasons, a professor at the University of Waterloo who was also involved in the study.

“The economic benefits of taking action now, rather than later—or at all—are becoming clearer every day.”

The survey does indicate that local governments see a connection between adaptation planning and emergency management and disaster response, but there’s a lack of action taken due to limited human and financial resources.

You can see the full 2019 Local Adaptation in Canada Report by clicking this link.

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