Canada unveils new climate adaptation strategy today with more than $1 billion commitment: sources

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Canada’s first climate adaptation strategy to be unveiled today will commit the federal government to new building guidelines and standards in areas prone to flooding and wildfires.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will unveil the strategy – which has been almost two years in the making – in Prince Edward Island, one of the Atlantic provinces that felt hit hard by Hurricane Fiona in September.

The strategy is aimed at securing Canada’s economy and people are prepared to deal with the worst impacts of climate change. The strategy document comes with goals, but the goal of the high-level document is to set the stage for more detailed implementation plans to be rolled out later.

The government will also announce more than $1 billion in new funding commitments for climate change mitigation on Thursday, according to a senior federal government source familiar with the strategy, who was not authorized to speak.

The funding required from the public and private sectors to address the impacts of climate change in Canada is estimated at $5.3 billion per yearaccording to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a trade association representing the industry.

Another source said the government will commit to building on climate-resilient building codes. Expect new targets to reduce the effects of floods, wildfires and severe heatwaves. A summer heat wave in B.C. killed more than 600 people in 2021.

Streaks of fire are seen behind trees, with a jet of water visible.
Firefighters battle to contain a wildfire outside of Lytton, BC on July 14, 2022. (Provided by Daniel Mundall)

Efforts to preserve and expand forests and wetlands have been shown to reduce emissions and minimize the effects of floods and heat waves on urban populations. The government is expected to prioritize investments in these nature-based climate solutions.

Climate change has already had devastating consequences for Canadians. In June 2021, Western Canada experienced a historic heat dome that set a record temperature of 49.6 degrees C in Lytton, BC A forest that would not tear through the community until later.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault called September’s Hurricane Fiona “the most severe hurricane in Canadian history. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Lives were lost and it’s because of climate change,” he added.

Economic analyzes show that the effects of climate change will be severe even if the world does not exceed the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C. A recent UN report warned that the failure of individual nations to reduce their emissions is “leading our planet to at least 2.5 degrees of warming, a level considered catastrophic by scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

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 chief estimated that even if the world meets its commitments to reduce emissions, Canada’s real GDP will be hit by 5.8 per cent by 2100.

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