Climate change to cost Canada billions: panel

Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:47pm EDT
 
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Climate change will cause damage in Canada equivalent to around 1 percent of GDP in 2050 as rising temperatures kill off forests, flood low-lying areas and cause more illnesses, an official panel said on Thursday.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy said Canada's Conservative government - criticized by green activists for not doing enough to fight global warming - should take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, which most scientists blame on greenhouse gas emissions.

The north of Canada, the world's second largest country, is warming up at a much faster pace than the rest of the Earth.

"Climate change presents a growing, long-term economic burden for Canada," said the NRTEE, which the government set up in 1988 to provide advice on environmental issues.

According to the most likely scenario outlined by the panel, the damage done by global warming would be between 0.8 percent and 1 percent of GDP by 2050 and could hit almost 2.5 percent by 2075.

"The magnitude of costs depends upon a combination of two factors: global emissions growth and Canadian economic and population growth," the panel said.

Depending on how fast the world heats up and what actions Ottawa takes, the NRTEE said the damage in 2050 could range from C$21 billion ($20 billion) to C$43 billion a year.

The panel recommended several measures to help limit damage from climate change:   Continued...

 
<p>A protestor dressed as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves fake dollar bills during a Global Day of Action demonstration in Toronto June 17, 2010. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>