GLOBE-Net, June 17, 2012 - Researchers from the
University of Waterloo Faculty of Environment have
released a detailed action plan for climate change
adaptation in Canada. The report, Climate Change
Adapation: A Priorities Plan for Canada, draws on
information provided by more than 80 experts in multiple areas of
Released before a packed audience at the MaRS Centre in
Toronto last week by Waterloo associate professor Dr. Blair
Feltmate, who chaired the Climate Change Adaptation Project, and Dr.
Jason Thistlethwaite, the report paints a troubling picture of
just where our climate is headed in the coming years.
Based on projections, Canada will continue to warm by up to 2˚C
by 2020 and 4˚C by 2050. The most significant impact will be in the
Arctic, which will see increases of up to 4˚C by 2020 and 8˚C by
2050, along with increased precipitation of up to 20 per cent by
2020 and 40 per cent by 2050.
The purpose of the report, however, was
not to measure climate change. Rather the project seeks to identify
where our society is most at risk from climate change and to engage
decisions makers at the highest levels on potential
"Climate change has occurred and it will continue to occur,"
says Feltmate. "Accordingly, the Climate Change Adaptation Project
provides specific guidance to help Canada adapt to climate change
through specific actions that are practical, meaningful and
cost-effective. In the absence of embracing adaptation to climate
change, Canada will be competitively disadvantaged."
City infrastructure, biodiversity, freshwater resources,
aboriginal communities and agriculture were targeted as the most
vulnerable areas where adaptive solutions to address climate change
are most urgently required. The report outlines 20 practical and
cost-effective recommendations that can be implemented
"Protecting city infrastructure, such as choosing road materials
that can withstand variable temperatures so we can prevent pot
holes, is one example," Thistlethwaite points out. "In the north,
the report recommends the developing contingency plans in the event
ice roads are not available for transporting supplies to
communities and industry"
Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial
Corporation a co-sponsored the project, stressed the
importance of finding practical and cost-effective ways to
adapt to changing climate .
The report points out that in the 1990s, basement flooding
replaced fire damage as the most expensive source of home insurance
claims. That is just one of the many clear examples of how climate
change is impacting not only our lives but also our largest
"The building code should require that homes are designed to be
resilient to the types of weather we expect with climate change,"
added Thistlethwaite. "All new homes exposed to potential basement
flooding should install a backwater valve to defend against intense
rain events as the atmosphere becomes more humid."
Brindamour acknowledged that it would take a coordinated effort
between business, academe and policy makers to make change happen.
"This project is a road map for Canada. It is about action and
outcomes... but today is just the first step," says Brindamour.
Download Climate Change
Adaptation: A Priorities Plan for Canada here.