Ottawa on Thursday unveiled a first-ever plan focused on adapting to climate change, the primary goal of which is to help cities that are particularly vulnerable to wildfires and recurring flooding.
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The government has been working on this strategy for two years, the broad outlines of which were announced by federal ministers in St. Peters Bay, Prince Edward Island, where the recent Hurricane Fiona left its aftermath.
Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy comes on the eve of COP15 on protecting biodiversity, which is due to open in Montreal in two weeks.
Valued at $1.6 billion, the Strategy includes investing in the Green Municipal Fund, which helps municipalities across the country finance green transition projects, ranging from installing solar panels to installing charging stations for electric vehicles.
Part of the envelope will also go to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, which helps cities upgrade infrastructure that helps them limit the damage caused by natural disasters, “such as disaster-resistant roads and bridges. floods”.
“These devastating weather conditions are frequent and intense, and Canada is not prepared to deal with them,” said Federation of Canadian Municipalities President Taneen Rudyk, who welcomes the initiative.
The NDP calls the amount invested a mere ‘beginning’, as ‘it’s only about a third of what is needed’. The “solution” is “insufficient and too late”.
“Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are far from taking enough action to prevent the climate crisis from spiraling out of control, and the new strategy announced Thursday does not do enough to protect communities from the impacts of climate change,” said Richard Cannings, door -the NDP’s word on Emergency Preparedness.
For its part, the government recognizes that eventually, the challenges related to adaptation will require more contribution from the public treasury, but also from private investment.
Nature Canada, which works in nature and biodiversity conservation, welcomed the Strategy, as it “recognizes that climate change, which comes on top of pollution and habitat loss, ” puts natural ecosystems even more at risk”.
Provinces and territories have 90 days to submit their views to the government.
The government estimates that “every dollar invested in adaptation measures results in savings of 13 to 15 dollars, in particular in direct and indirect benefits throughout the economy”.
Floods are the most costly type of natural disaster in the country, with damage estimated at $2.9 billion for the residential sector alone, estimates Environment Canada.