On official panel cautioned Canada’s government that costs associated with climate change are likely to reach 1% of GDP in 2050, $20 billion – $42 billion a year.
"Climate change presents a growing, long-term economic burden for Canada," says the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which was created by the government 1988 to advise on environmental issues.
Canada’s Conservative government has faced wide ranging critisms for not addressing climate change.
Northern parts of the country are warming much faster than the rest of the world, destroying forests, flooding low-lying areas and resulting in related health issues.
- increasing forest fire prevention, controlling pests, and planting climate-resilient tree species
- preventing new construction in flood prone areas
- installing pollution control technologies to limit ozone formation.
It also recommends that Canada sign onto a global treaty that commits the country to systematically lower carbon emissions. Talks are set to begin next month on whether the Kyoto Protocol will be extended beyond 2012, when it expires.
When Conservatives took power in 2006, Canada walked away from even its weak committments under the Kyoto treaty. John Bennett of the Sierra Club told Reuters the government is "stubborn, deaf, environmentally irresponsible, and antiquarian."
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada had committed to cut emissions 6% percent below 1990 levels by 2012; it’s current goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
A new report shows the country may miss even those targets because of poorly planned and un-coordinated programs.
In July, the federal government said it would spend C$50 million a year to monitor air and water quality in northern Alberta and the overall impact of tar sands development on biodiversity there.
The country is increasingly taken to task for destroying its Boreal Forest for tar sands development and it’s commitment to expanding tar sands oil extraction, which has triple the emissions of conventional oil refining.
Meanwhile Denmark’s new center-left government raised the target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% by 2020 from 1990 levels. The target for renewable energy is to provide half the country’s s electricity.
Nova Scotia Steps Up
Last month, Nova Scotia, Canada’s second-smallest province, announced the highest feed-in tariffs in the world to support ocean/tidal energy, and the highest in North America for small wind projects.
It’s part of Nova Scotia’s plan to get 25% of its energy from renewables by 2015, and 40% by 2020. That will help it get off coal, which supplies 90% of its electricity, and which has become expensive to import.
Although several other provinces have clean energy targets, Nova Scotia’s is the only one written into law and which has fines for non-compliance. Ontario launched a feed-in tariff two years ago.
And the feed-in law only applies to small community-based projects that are owned by municipalities, First Nations and co-ops – not big developers.
Since Nova Scotia has a small population, it only needs to install 300 megawatts (MW) to get 25% renewables, less than half the size of many large wind farms.
Its feed-in law will pay 49.9 Canadian cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for 20 years to small wind projects and 65.2 Canadian cents per kWh for small-scale, in-stream tidal power.
The challenge is to find areas of strong wind near transmission lines, reports Reuters.