As temperatures rise, will costs follow?

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A decade ago, the insurance industry's biggest payouts to homeowners were for fire or theft. But for the past five years or so, damage payouts related to heavy rain and high winds are more common, just one very concrete example of the consequences of rising temperatures. Today, we're asking about what's changing ... and what has to change in agriculture, business, construction and infrastructure to accommodate what Environment Canada says will be a hotter, wetter nation.



As temperatures rise, will costs follow? - Environment Canada

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. - U.S. President Barack Obama

Not many world leaders promise that kind of change in an inaugural address. But you don't have to be President of the United States to worry about extreme weather. In 2012, Canadians were soaked in floods, tossed about in hurricanes and watched the mercury rise.

Environment Canada keeps track of all the highs and lows and soon the agency will release new standards for what's "normal" across the country. New touchstones, that are released every ten years, show Canada is getting hotter and wetter - with average temperatures rising across the board. And the effects can especially be felt at this time of year.

In the last 65 years, the national winter time average temperature in Canada has risen 3.2 degrees. So don't be fooled by the Arctic system sweeping through most parts of the country and making the mighty Canada colder.

These warming trends affect the amount of extreme weather we endure. Experts predict Canada will experience more severe bouts of wind, rain and snow. To give us a better idea of the new normal, we were joined by David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada.

As temperatures rise, will costs follow? Gordon McBean & Sara Brown

If you need proof that the atypical weather is becoming typical, my next guest suggests: follow the money.

Gordon McBean is policy chair with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. We reached him in London, Ontario.

And Sara Brown is the CEO of The Northwest Territories Association of Communities and has been tracking the cost of fixing buildings and infrastructure that are being damaged by a melting permafrost. Sara Brown was in Yellowknife this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.

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