Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Costs of Canada's Failure to Act on Climate Change

In addition to degrading the Canadian and global environment, Canada's ruling Conservatives are imposing huge costs on Canadians. Rather than push for a binding global treaty on climate change in Durban South Africa, Canada is expected to withdraw from the Kyoto accord. Climate change will cost Canadians about $5 billion a year by 2020 and according to a new report, those cost could rise to as much as $91 billion a year by the 2050s.

"Climate change will be expensive for Canada and Canadians," says the September 2011 report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. "Increasing greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide will exert a growing economic impact on our own country, exacting a rising price from Canadians as climate change impacts occur here at home," the report concludes.

The roundtable is a group of business leaders, academics and researchers chosen by the federal government to advise Ottawa on how to deal simultaneously with challenges in the economy and the environment.

The research reveals that the longer the effects of climate change are ignored, the costlier they become. "Our modelling ... shows there is a risk those costs could not be just higher, but much higher," the report adds. "Getting global emissions down is both in Canada's economic and environmental interest," said David McLaughlin, president of the roundtable.

It is somewhat ironic that the Conservative party derives considerable support from the west and the destructive impacts of climate change will be most dramatic in that part of the country. As the country with the largest coastline, Canada will also suffer heavy costs due to flooding.

In addition to increased health costs, the report estimates that global warming will lead to between five and 10 additional deaths per 100,000 people per year by 2050.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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