OTTAWA – Canada’s environment commissioner says the federal government is nowhere near ready for the massive storms and more frequent floods and fires expected to result from climate change.
In her autumn annual reports, Julie Gelfand says Ottawa has not done enough to identify the risks climate change poses to more than $66 billion in physical assets or determine how it can keep providing services to people when a major event takes place.
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Only five of the 19 departments she looked at have even figured out what their risks are, let alone developed plans to deal with them.
The other departments all indicated it would be nice to have such risks identified, but haven’t done anything about it.
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“These findings matter because proactive planning is more effective and less costly than reacting to climate change impacts as they happen,” reads the report.
Gelfand is also critical of the government for making four international commitments to cut emissions since 1991, while never coming close to meeting a single one.
“Climate change is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. These audits show that when it comes to climate change action, Canada has a lot of work to do in order to reach the targets it has set,” said Gelfand in a press release.
Many of the concerns Gelfand raises date back to previous governments and she says that while the current Liberal government has done some positive work in these areas, concrete targets and priorities are needed so all departments and provinces know what they need to do and by when.
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