A recently released report by the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) on the implications of climate change on Canada’s infrastructure represents an important step forward in the national conversation about infrastructure resilience. Published with support from the Cement Association of Canada, “Climate Change Adaptation and Canadian Infrastructure” summarizes current literature dealing with the challenge of adapting to climate change in Canada, with a particular focus on the country’s infrastructure.

Intended to serve as stimulus for further discussion around planned adaptation to climate change in Canada, particularly with respect to ensuring the viability of critical built infrastructure, the report explores climate impacts and risks to key infrastructure by region and by type. The report also introduces a number of key policy, regulatory, and financial tools for consideration.

“The cement and concrete industry is committed to being a proactive partner in addressing the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said Michael McSweeney, President and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada. “We are in an age of massive re-investment in our basic infrastructure in Canada, and this presents an enormous opportunity to both mitigate climate change through reduced CO2 emissions as well as prepare ourselves for the changes in our climate that are already underway. In supporting the publication of this report, we’ve taken a modest step towards engaging in the development of a new way of thinking and planning for climate resiliency in Canada’s infrastructure investments.”

The report concludes that:

  • Climate change has the potential to substantially affect the lifespan and effectiveness of Canada’s infrastructure, particularly transportation, buildings, marine and water management infrastructure.
  • Measures can be taken to limit costs and strengthen the resiliency of infrastructure – the report documents a number of key policy, regulatory and financial tools for consideration.
  • While there has been a significant amount of research and planning done, most supporting policies and regulatory changes remain nascent and investments have not yet fundamentally shifted.
  • Recent climate events in Canada and abroad have galvanized calls for action at the local, regional and national levels, providing a key opportunity for industry actors to get engaged in the resiliency conversation now.

“Climate change matters for Canada’s infrastructure and adapting to its effects will require commitments by both the private and public sectors. By supporting IISD research that assesses the opportunities and risks, CAC has taken a key first step towards the broader discussions and work ahead,” said IISD president Scott Vaughan.

Climate Change Adaptation and Canadian Infrastructure is available at www.rediscoverconcrete.ca and at the IISD.

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