Climate Change in Canada
One very direct impact on our wallets is insurance premiums. Increased flooding in Ontario and Quebec in recent years and forest fires in Alberta and BC have led to billions of dollars in insurance claims. The Fort McMurray fires alone brought a decade's worth of claims in a few months. As insurers are hit by the costs of these extreme weather event claims then they will have no choice but to adjust premiums going forward.
Coastal erosion and storm surges are already starting to affect our coastal populations especially in Provinces like PEI and Nova Scotia where 70% of the population lives along the coastline.
Our cold winters used to protect us from all kinds of unwanted and dangerous pests, but that is no longer the case. Ticks are increasingly able to survive winter and are moving north. They carry with them the parasite causing Lyme disease, which is a terrible debilitating disease which takes many years and great expense to recover from. Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain are a couple of examples of well known Canadians who have suffered with this disease.
Ticks are also becoming a huge problem for our iconic Moose. In one recent study the average number of ticks on Moose calves was over 47,000 and 70% of those calves were not able to survive. This study was in Maine/New Hampshire, but the record high tick populations in Canada are also leading us down that path.
Another insect becoming a huge problem is the mountain pine beetle. Climate change has resulted in huge explosions in beetle populations and decimation of millions of hectares of forest in BC. They have now crossed the Rockies into Alberta and will continue heading east. It is considered only a matter of time before they reach Ontario and Quebec causing untold economic damage to the forestry industry and all those dependent upon it.
It may be too late to prevent some of these problems, but who knows what else will arise if temperatures rise even further? There is already some speculation that dengue fever, a tropical disease born by particular species of mosquitoes, could also be working its way north.
And even putting the prospect of these diseases aside, another possible consequence of Climate Change is mass migration of people northwards as they try to escape the impacts of extreme climate events in their home countries. It remains to be seen whether Canada will have the resources to absorb these climate refugees into our society.