Canada is missing out on returns from investing in climate resilience

Report warns that action needs to be taken to mitigate the "massive" and rising costs of climate change in Canada

Canada is missing out on returns from investing in climate resilience
Steve Randall

Canada must do more to invest in resilience as the costs of climate change are escalating.

That’s the warning from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices which says that the country must make “substantial increases in adaptation investment and enhanced climate risk disclosure to build resilience and limit damages.”

Earlier this year, a report warned that the finance sector is underestimating the cost of climate change during the investment process.

In a report titled ‘Tip of the Iceberg: Navigating the Known and Unknown Costs of Climate Change for Canada’, the organization’s analysis of historical trends reveals that weather-related disasters like floods, storms and wildfires are getting more frequent, more extreme, and more expensive.

Over the past decade, the cost of these events has increased to 5-6% of annual GDP growth from around 1% in previous decades.

The report says that insured losses for weather-related disasters in Canada have totalled over $18 billion in the past decade, doubling that of the previous three decades; and that the number of catastrophic events have increased threefold since the 1980s.

Without action, the costs could rise unsustainably.

“Canada has largely left the potential of climate change adaptation untapped. Not only are we more exposed to risk than necessary, we’re also missing out on significant returns that come from investing in resilience,” said Dave Sawyer, the Institute’s principal economist and lead report author.

Opportunity is now
Sawyer said that there is an opportunity to reduce some of the most critical climate change risks.

“Analysis shows that investing in well-designed climate adaptation measures before disasters strike can provide impressive returns by preventing damages and avoiding social and economic disruption,” he added.

Climate change ranks top among economic concerns for Canadians according to a recent survey which shows that 6 in 10 have been impacted.