As we get closer to summer, a new report is sounding the alarm when it comes to the silent killer of climate change.
A report by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at Waterloo University warns that soaring temperatures are set to cause devastating climate-related suffering in Canada.
Fifteen Canadian cities have been cited as the most vulnerable to extreme heat.
Kingston and Belleville were named among the locations across Canada most at risk.
“The heat is coming for sure. The modelling is quite clear and we need to take the measures now to prepare in anticipation of that which is to come,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre.
Last summer a heat wave in British Columbia killed nearly 600 people, 526 of them in a one-week span at the end of June.
The report indicates that if nothing is done now, it could result in thousands of deaths in the future, with excess deaths related to extreme heat increasing by 450 per cent by 2080.
The Intact Centre says by 2051, summer temperature will increase by five degrees, the number of days above 30 C will triple and the number of heat waves will almost double.
“I am not actually surprised at all. We’ve experienced extreme heat in Kingston in the past,” Kingston Coun. Bridget Doherty told Global News.
But there are solutions Canada can implement, starting with investing billions to prevent the world’s warming from increasing above two degrees.
A new study from the Smiths School of Business at Queen’s University found the costs of even two degrees of warming will grow to more than $15 billion annually within eight years.
“By investing $12.8 billion now, we save a little bit now and a lot in the future and we avoid a situation where we may not be able to make those investments in the future,” said finance PhD candidate Neal Willcott.
The Intact Centre lists dozens of things people can do to ease the threat, such as cooling homes using reflective window coverings and planting trees for better shade. Cities are also encouraged to incorporate heat concerns into new builds, expand green spaces and make sure there are water-based cooling systems like ponds or sprinklers.