View Full Version : Canada Unprepared For Impending Climate Crisis

11-12-2005, 12:12 PM
Canada unprepared for impending climate crisis


CTV.ca News Staff

Canada is more vulnerable to climate change than any other industrialized country but is dangerously unprepared to deal with the consequences.

That's the conclusion of a draft report which claims higher temperatures and less reliable precipitation is damaging forestry, fishing and agriculture.

The Toronto Star says the unpublished study also predicts that large swaths of Ontario's boreal forests are likely to die over the next century.

The danger to the country from climate change is "perhaps unmatched in times of peace," the draft report claims.

The study conducted by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy was commissioned by Prime Minister Paul Martin.

The round table, an advisory body of business and labour leaders, academics, environmentalists and other activists, was created by the federal government in 1994.

Although the report suggests joining forces with the United States to get a North American approach on adapting to climate change, the overriding emphasis pushes for Canada to treat the problem as a domestic issue.

"All Canadians will be touched by climate change impacts" that "pose new risks to human health, critical infrastructure, social stability and security," the report says.

Already, "dangerous" climate change has hit some parts of Canada, such as the North, and is on the way for the Prairies and some coastal areas.

But because the federal and provincial governments have so far fudged the issue, most Canadians are cynical about climate change, taking a wait-and-see attitude, the report adds.

"It must be seen as an issue that touches on the foundations of Canadians' way of life -- jobs, economic competitiveness, human health and cultural values."

Global warming
The report also warns that man-made climate changes would continue for decades, even if all emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases stopped immediately.

A two-degree-Celsius rise in global average temperatures -- seen as unavoidable in many computer projections -- would boost average temperatures in the Canadian interior by three to four degrees.

In the North, average winter temperatures would jump between four and seven degrees, says the report.

"This level of increase, therefore, would almost certainly incur what many Canadians consider to be dangerous levels of climate change impacts."

Canada is spending $10 billion on a Kyoto plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels during 2008-2012, but the report is looking at the period beyond that. The most recent federal figures placed 2003 emissions 26 per cent above the 1990 levels.

The round table's final report, sent to Martin and other key federal ministers last month, contained only minor changes from the Sept. 27 draft obtained by the Star, the newspaper reports.

The report criticizes the Prime Minister's Office and its bureaucratic counterpart, the Privy Council Office, for failing to "adequately initiate and co-ordinate Canadian strategic policy responses to climate change."

A United Nations-sponsored climate change conference in Montreal is set to take place at the end of November.