Next year’s federal budget must acknowledge the hundreds of millions of dollars Canadians are already paying due to climate change and its impacts, the 22-member Green Budget Coalition says in a set of recommendations released last week.
“Canadians are already experiencing floods, fires, ecological disruption, and a rapidly warming Arctic, and scientists project these and other impacts will intensify if climate change remains unchecked,” the coalition states. While past federal budgets have made progress on climate action, protected areas, building and vehicle energy efficiency, food policy, and water, transit, and natural infrastructure, “we now need to scale up action before it is too late, to address the closely-related climate and biodiversity crises”.
Citing the release, The Canadian Press notes that the 2019 budget only allocated C$130 million to help provinces and territories respond to more frequent and severe natural disasters. “A 2017 report from Public Safety Canada found the program averaged more than $360 million a year between 2011 and 2016,” the news agency notes, “and the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the program would average more than $900 million a year between 2016 and 2020.”
The GBC recommendations cover four themes: climate change, nature conservation and biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and toxics and pesticides. It urges “scaled-up fiscal action to address the climate emergency, including eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and allocating major funding to building energy efficiency, transportation, community energy, international climate financing, nature-based solutions, and marine shipping, plus a number of complementary measures, including on carbon pricing, the Sustainable Finance report, and a just transition for energy sector workers,” the coalition writes.