Saturday, October 1, 2011

Canadian Study Calculates Costs of Global Change to Coastal Communities

A new study, Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada, calculates the increasing costs from the impacts of climate change in Canada over the period 2020 through 2050.  The full report looks at impacts to the national economy. Special attention is given to forestry, coasts, ecosystems and human health.

Coastal communities are already at risk from a variety of natural hazards.  The annual cost of damages due to inundation, erosion, and storm surge are, to a certain extent, simply part of living along the coast.  This study estimates the year-to-year increase in these costs based on the anticipated impacts of global climate change - accelerated rates of sea level rise and changes in the frequency and intensity of storms.

  • By the 2050s, in a given year, between 33,000 and 38,000 square kilometres (km2) of land will be at risk of flooding, with between 2,000 and 7,000 km2 of this area at risk due to climate change
  • Impacts are uneven across regions.
  • By the 2050s, in any given year, 16,000 to 28,000 dwellings will be at risk of permanent flooding from sea-level rise and temporary flooding from storm surges.
  • The majority of dwellings at risk are in British Columbia — about 8,900 to 18,700 by the 2050s.

This post relates to Topic 2: Human dimensions and Topic 4: Baseline change to be discussed during the Synthesis Sessions at CERF 2011. 

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