The effects of climate change will cost Canada about $5 billion per year by 2020 and increase to somewhere between $21 and $43 billion per year in 2035, according to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
The NRT released its study this week, Paying the Price: the Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada. The study finds that costs will be borne by the timber industry and the coastal regions. Medial costs will also be higher since there will be adverse effects on people's health.
By the 2050s, the impacts of climate change on the timber supply through changes in pests, fires, and forest growth are expected to cost the Canadian economy between $2 billion and $17 billion per year. The coastal land area exposed to climate change–induced flooding from sea-level rise and increased storminess across Canada by the 2050s is roughly equivalent to the size of the Greater Toronto Area. The costs of flooding from climate change could be between $1 billion and $8 billion per year by the 2050s.
Climate change will lead to warmer summers and poorer air quality, resulting in increased deaths and illnesses in the four cities studied — Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. Illnesses associated with climate change impacts on air quality in turn will impose costs on the health care system; in Toronto these costs could be between $3 million and $11 million per year by the 2050s.
The authors state that Canada should do more to adapt to the changing climate conditions.
"Adapting to climate change is both possible and cost-effective. Halting emissions growth tomorrow will do nothing to arrest the impacts of GHGs already in the atmosphere. So, some form of climate change impacts due to global warming can be expected, requiring adaptation measures in response."
Image by subarcticmike of a polar bear hide drying in Pangnirtung, Nunavut