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In Depth

Kyoto and beyond

UK report on climate change: What about Canada?

Last Updated October 30, 2006

A British report on climate change, released in October 2006, warns that the world faces economic and environmental risks if it doesn't tackle the problem.

In particular, the study cautions people about the global ramifications of temperature change.

For example, in developed countries located in the northern part of the world, including Canada, the report noted that there could be some "positive effects" up to 2050, but in the latter half of the century, as temperatures rise, there could be considerable risks.

The report says Canada would initially see positive effects if the temperature rises between 2 and 3 C, including:

  • A higher agricultural output as a result of a longer growing season.
  • During the cold months, there would be a lower winter mortality rate. Also, there would be lower heating costs in the winter because of the warmer temperatures, but hotter summers would offset those savings.
  • Higher temperatures would also be seen as a potential boost to tourism.
  • Shorter winters and a smaller amount of "sea-ice" would increase summer Arctic transportation that would allow access to natural resources.

On the negative end, the report notes:

  • North America may experience the "most rapid rates of warming with serious consequences for biodiversity and local livelihoods."
  • The cost of extreme weather events — storms, floods, droughts, heat waves — could cost up to one per cent of world GDP by 2050.
  • "Melting permafrost raises the cost of protecting infrastructure and oil and gas installations from summer subsidence."
  • Warmer weather would threaten polar bears and other Arctic mammals and the people who rely on them.
  • Canada would have a longer growing season, but thinner snow cover "risks making winter wheat crops vulnerable."

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