February 15, 2016 6:12 pm
Updated: February 15, 2016 6:48 pm

DFO scientists hope climate change adaptation program will be extended

WATCH ABOVE: A climate change adaptation program based at the Bedford Institute for Oceanography could shut down unless Ottawa ponies up more money. Global’s Marieke Walsh reports.

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Funding for a climate change research program specifically targeting Canada’s marine environments will end unless the Liberal government in Ottawa renews funding in the upcoming budget.

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Research from scientists at the Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program was  presented at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography on Monday. The research covers everything from rising sea levels to the impact of warmer water on the fisheries. Research conducted through the program is used by governments and businesses to better manage fisheries and develop cities differently, among many other examples.

READ MORE: Climate change a low priority for most Canadians: Ipsos poll

“The type of assessments that we’ve done, there’s been nothing at this level,” John Loder, an emeritus scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said.

He wants the government to renew the program’s funding because he says while a lot of work has already been done, there is much more to do.

“There are so many unanswered questions, we actually don’t understand very well what’s controlling the variability in the northwest Atlantic,” Loder said.

Over the last five years, the program received $149 million in federal money, but the investment in research is expected to pay off because it will give decision makers better information on how to plan for climate change.

“If you actually plan for sea-level rise adaptation, it’s actually more cost-effective than reacting to it after it’s happened,” DFO Scientist Blair Greenan said.

Alain Vezina, DFO regional director of science, says climate change research will continue whether or not the specific program is renewed. Nevertheless, he says he’s “hopeful” it will be.

The future of the program will be announced in the federal budget.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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