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Report identifies the top climate risks for Canada and looks at resilience by adaptation

An expert panel convened by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has identified Canada's top climate change risks and determined that many costs and damages could be avoided with ‘prompt and thoughtful’ adaptation.

"Climate change is increasingly leading to costly and disruptive impacts, and current projections suggest the warming in Canada and globally will continue, regardless of the trajectory of global emissions," said L. John Leggat, PhD, FCAE, Chair of the Expert Panel. "Understanding our top climate change risks and the role of adaptation in reducing these risks can help to support an effective response."

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat asked the CCA to examine the top climate change risks for Canada and their relative significance. Other studies have examined climate change risks at the sectoral and departmental level, but few have taken government-wide approach designed to help prioritize government responses.

Canada's Top Climate Change Risks identifies the main risk areas based on the extent and likelihood of the potential damage, and rates the risk areas according to Canadian society's ability to adapt and reduce negative outcomes. These 12 major areas of risk are: agriculture and food, coastal communities, ecosystems, fisheries, forestry, geopolitical dynamics, governance and capacity, human health and wellness, indigenous ways of life, northern communities, physical infrastructure, and water.

The report describes an approach to inform federal risk prioritization and adaptation responses. The Panel outlines a multi-layered method of prioritizing adaptation measures based on an understanding of the risk, adaptation potential, and federal roles and responsibilities.

Read the report (PDF).



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