Mr. Speaker, there have been numerous studies examining the potential costs of climate change impacts on specific regions of Canada; however, there are no estimates of the total costs to the Canadian economy of the impacts of climate change.
Natural Resources Canada published sectoral and regional assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation in Canada, in 2004 “Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective”. This report describes potential physical and socio-economic impacts of climate change. Natural Resources Canada also notes that several other researchers have undertaken analyses at the national level of climate change impacts on certain sectors, e.g., agriculture, for both Canada and the U.S. As well, Natural Resources Canada signals the difficulty in computing the cost of climate change to the whole economy:
“At present, it is difficult to derive quantitative estimates of the potential costs of climate change impacts. Limitations are imposed by the lack of agreement on preferred approaches and assumptions, limited data availability, and a variety of uncertainties relating to such things as future changes in climate, social and economic conditions, and the responses that will be made to address those changes.” (Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Government of Canada. 2004. p. 25. http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/perspective/pdf/report_e.pdf)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, recently released its fourth assessment report on the science of climate change. This report contains a synthesis of results from global and regional climate models and these results are currently the most up-to-data available for all regions of the world. Canadian scientists and the Canadian global and regional climate models contributed significantly to this report, providing model output and scientific analysis and the Government of Canada readily accepts the finding of the IPCC reports.
The analysis of multiple models provides important information about model uncertainty which is not readily available from results of a single model, and therefore results from such a “multi-model” ensemble are of particular value when assessing projections of future climate change. The IPCC report provides the best, and most current, “high-level” assessment of model-based future climate projections. Output from the Canadian global and regional climate models is available from the following Environment Canada web site: www.cccma.ec.gc.ca. This kind of detailed model output is widely used by researchers across Canada studying the impacts of future climate change in Canada.
Relatively little research has been completed to quantify the potential economic impact of climate change in Canada either at a regional or sectoral scale. The few macro-economic analyses of Canadian impacts that have been conducted almost exclusively deal with agriculture, where estimated economic impacts range from large annual costs to substantive benefits. All regions in Canada and all sectors of the Canadian economy will be affected to some degree, either directly or indirectly and positively or negatively, by the impacts of climate change.
In general the greatest impacts are expected in regions and sectors where operations and activities are already highly sensitive to variation in climatic conditions, are already experiencing impacts or are operating near critical thresholds. Impacts will be larger where the capacity to adapt or diversify is limited. Significant impacts are expected in the Canadian North, in economic sectors dependant on natural resources, and in public, utility and financial sectors responsible for social and physical infrastructure.
Environment Canada has not estimated the anticipated job losses due to climate change.
Given the complexity of the air quality valuation model, Environment Canada’s analysis presented in “Turning the Corner” focused on the package of initiatives outlined in the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions. It should be noted that without the regulations outlined in “Turning the Corner”, the emissions from the oil sands sector would have doubled volatile compounds of emissions. Capping volatile compounds of emissions, means that emissions will be some 20% below the 2015 business-as-usual level. Capping the growth of volatile compounds of emissions will provide health benefits for all Canadians, as indicated on page 25 of the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions. This includes a mean average reduction in premature deaths in the year 2015 by 1,200, and annual benefits estimated to be $6.4 billion.