EXPERT PANEL DELIVERS REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
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A federal advisory panel report released June 26 determined that Canadians should be better prepared to cope with the effects of climate change.
The report entitled Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada is part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change introduced by the Liberal government in December 2016.
The Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results was mandated in August 2017 to propose ways of measuring the progress the country has made in adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The Expert Panel was chaired by Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, at the University of Waterloo. Other members were from academic backgrounds, Indigenous organizations and governments, non-governmental and youth organizations, municipal governments and the private sector.
"Climate change impacts occurring across the country pose significant risks to Canadians' health, safety and well being," the report said.
The report explains how sea level rise, forest fires, flooding and an increase in average temperature and precipitation has already impacted Canadian citizens, their environment and their economy.
"As these impacts are projected to intensify in the coming decades, it is essential that Canadians act now to adapt and build their resilience to climate change," it said.
The panel recommended a total of 54 indicators be put in place to better identify and manage the effects of climate change and gave special consideration to communities living in high risk areas like coastal regions, and remote and northern communities.
Of those, the panel recommended that municipal and provincial governments be more transparent as to whether current building standards reflect the increasing risks posed by climate change.
It also suggested that in the wake of an environmental disaster, governments adapt their rebuilding plans to reflect new realities that they called a build-back better process.
In a section devoted to regions that are especially vulnerable, the Expert Panel recommended identifying emergency response times, the people trained to assist in such an event and those immediately impacted; for instance, people living on shorelines as well as those who fish and or gather and eat foods harvested in flood prone areas.
That section is followed by A Call to Action wherein the authors of the report make a plea for the federal government to build on the work compiled in the report.
Following the release of the report Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in a statement, "enhancing our understanding of how best to measure Canada's progress on climate change adaptation will support the Government's efforts to help Canadians prepare for the impacts of a changing climate."
The authors stated that "the final list for this report comprises a small fraction of the total suite of indicators developed by the Expert Panel." They explain that it was "reduced significantly" to render it more manageable and easier to implement while striving to paint a portrait of the realities Canada is facing and ask that the gaps be filled over time.
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