Ottawa Not Prepared to Handle Global Warming

Ottawa Not Prepared to Handle Global WarmingOttawa Not Prepared to Handle Global Warming

The Canadian government is nowhere near ready for the massive storms and more frequent floods and fires that are expected to result from global warming, warns the country’s environment commissioner.

In her autumn annual reports, Julie Gelfand asked whether Ottawa will be able to protect more than $66 billion in federal assets like bridges, roads and airports, while also continuing to provide services, when fires, floods and extreme storms hit hard, Thestar.com reported.

The answer, she said, is a resounding “No.”

“The federal government is not prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change that we are all feeling right now,” Gelfand told a news conference on Tuesday.

A lack of federal preparation is her “biggest concern” coming out of the latest round of audits, as she noted that only five of the 19 departments she looked at have even figured out where the risks are from global warming, let alone how best to deal with them.

She said Transport Canada was the gold standard in both assessing risk and preparing to mitigate for it, including concerns about ports being affected by rising sea levels, and railroads impacted by extreme cold or thawing permafrost.

The other 14 departments, including National Defense and Infrastructure Canada, all indicated it would be nice to have such risks identified but have not done anything about it—meaning Ottawa does not come close to having a full picture of the threats climate change poses to its assets and activities.

Gelfand was also critical of the government for repeatedly promising to cut emissions, but never actually doing so.


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