Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, took action today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Indonesia. Canada will invest $85.9 million over four years to help Canadians respond to climate change. Minister Baird was joined at the announcement by Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and one of Canada's Eminent Advisors to the Minister.
"Canada is leading by example and stepping up its fight against climate change by taking concrete steps to help Canadians adapt to our changing climate," said Minister Baird. "With our Turning the Corner Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, Canada started taking real action on climate change. However, the science is clear. Even the most ambitious efforts on fighting climate change cannot prevent the warming that is expected to continue in the short term. That's why we're providing support to address this challenge head on."
Canada will spend:
- $15 million for research to improve climate change scenarios;
- $14 million for a program to assist Northerners in assessing key vulnerabilities and opportunities for adaptation;
- $7 million for climate change and health adaptation in northern / Inuit communities;
- $14.9 million to develop a pilot climate and infectious disease alert and response system to protect the health of Canadians from the impacts associated with a changing climate; and
- $35 million for risk management tools for adaptation and to support the development and implementation of regional programs.
"Canadians want action now on climate change -- and that's exactly what we're doing," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "My department is using its recognized expertise in adaptation and resource management to create tools and methodologies that will help address the impacts of climate change."
"No region may be more affected by climate change than Canada's Arctic, however, effective solutions must involve all regions of the country", said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor on Métis and Non-Status Indians. "Tremendous opportunities await those who design and implement effective ways to combat climate change. Canada, rich in innovative talent and scientific and engineering expertise, is well placed to develop these solutions."
"Our Government is keenly aware of the important link between health and the environment, and as Health Minister I see today's funding announcements as very positive news for Canadians concerned about the health effects of the air they breathe and the water they drink," said Minister of Health Tony Clement. "Additionally, the new infectious disease alert and response system will enable us to monitor and act quickly particularly in vulnerable areas such as Canada's north."
Canada's Government Taking Action on Adaptation and Climate Change Issues
The Government of Canada is taking real action on climate change by investing $85.9 million over four years to help Canadians increase their capacity to adapt to a changing climate. Environment Canada, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, will implement several new programs as part of the Government of Canada's new adaptation plan. New initiatives will enhance the scientific knowledge and tools needed to take further action against climate change and reduce the risks to Canadians.
The science is clear and Canada, like the rest of the world, recognizes the need to take immediate action on climate change. Across the country, we have seen the impacts of a warming climate first hand. For example, the pine beetle infestation that has ravaged our boreal forests and the melting of permafrost in the north that has destabilized the foundations of homes and schools.
With the Government's Turning the Corner Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, our Government has introduced the toughest regulations in Canadian history, putting Canada on the path to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 60-70% by 2050.
The investment of $85.9 million will complement the Government's Turning the Corner Action Plan by putting the following adaptation initiatives in place:
- $15 million for Improved Climate Change Scenarios. Environment Canada's expertise in predicting environmental changes, weather patterns and future climate extremes will be enhanced through improved climate change scenarios. The information gathered through climate change scenarios will be used to protect the health and property of Canadians, such as, improving the design of bridges and telecommunications structures to withstand extreme rainfall, ice and snow loads, and sea level changes. The scenarios and risk information will also assist communities in their emergency preparedness planning.
- $35 million to develop Innovative Risk Management Tools and to develop Regional Adaptation Work Programs. Natural Resources Canada will develop new information and tools to help decision-makers effectively use new knowledge to develop adaptation strategies. The adaptation tools (using guidelines, analytical models, etc.) will guide non-climate change experts through a series of steps to examine the implications of climate impacts on their policies, plans, and operations, in order to determine appropriate response options. Similarly, Regional Adaptation Work Programs will facilitate regional adaptation and collaboration between key players in government, economic sectors, and local communities and organizations.
- $14 million for Northern and Aboriginal Communities to assess Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities. Aboriginal and northern communities are uniquely affected by an already changing climate with greater changes expected in the future. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will build on current work to advance risk assessment, planning and community-based adaptation projects. A project undertaken could, for instance, address the need for community access to regionally-based climate change scenarios.
- $7 million to address Health Adaptation in Northern / Inuit communities. Health Canada will work with Aboriginal communities, other key stakeholders and government departments to establish a community-based research program to assess key vulnerabilities and health impacts related to climate change in Northern / Inuit populations. The results will be used to develop innovative human health risk management plans and tools, including culturally sensitive educational and awareness materials, to improve decision-making regarding health adaptation in the North.
- $14.9 million to develop Climate and Infectious Disease Alert and Response Systems to Protect the Health of Canadians. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will work with partners on developing climate and infectious disease alert and response systems to protect the health of Canadians from impacts associated with a changing climate. The results will be used to produce tools, best practices, guides and reports for use and implementation by provinces and municipalities.
Link to Turning the Corner Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution