Panel Urges Governments to Track Canadians’ Climate Resilience
With Canada already facing serious climate change impacts, governments must move urgently to report on how safe citizens are from floods, fires, and other climate-related hazards, the federal government’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience reported this week.
The panel identified 54 indicators that governments should put in place, concluding that “basic information such as the percentage of poor Canadians who are living in high-risk areas, or the readiness of infrastructure for the change in temperatures and rainfall, are inconsistent or simply not kept,” The Canadian Press reports.
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“It’s essential that Canadians act now to adapt and build their resilience to climate change,” the report stated. “Climate change impacts occurring across the country pose significant risks to Canadians’ health, safety, and well-being.”
“The only way for the national government to do its job is for every province to commit to tracking these indicators,” said advisory panel member and University of New Brunswick research associate Louise Comeau. “It ends up being an evaluation of whether the governments are making their citizens and communities safer in the face of known climate change risk and emerging climate change risk.”
Among its measures of climate impact, the panel included the proportion of Indigenous and other people whose access to the land—including traditional foods and ways of life—is vulnerable to sea level rise and severe storms. Panelists also looked for measures of resilience, including “build-back better” bylaws at the municipal level that take climate change into account when a community rebuilds after a disaster.
“It’s putting a focus on a measurement system where we can start to calculate or document the negative impacts associated with climate change and extreme weather events that goes beyond cavalier or anecdotal evidence,” said panel chair Blair Feltmate of the University of Waterloo.