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TD says climate change will cost Canadian economy billions

The TD Bank has released a report on the financial implications of climate change on the Canadian economy. The Toronto Star reports, “Monday’s report detailed the Canadian perspective on increasingly frequent natural catastrophes — the average number per year has doubled over the past three decades — and how by 2020 they will sap an estimated $5 billion from the economy.” By 2050, the cost rises to $21-$43 billion per year.

The report’s lead author, TD economist Craig Alexander, says, “Many Canadian cities are located in places that are vulnerable to severe weather events. So, for example, we have cities near river mouths and coasts, like Vancouver and Montreal. We saw a lot of damage to the city of Calgary due to flooding of the river that runs through Calgary. You also have cities in the prairies that are vulnerable to drought.”

The report also notes how the GDP measure may fail to reflect this reality. Alexander notes, “In the case of Calgary in the floods they had, it was a negative to the Calgary economy when the flooding occurred, but TD economics ended up having to revise upwards its forecast for Alberta because (of) all the construction that was going to happen to repair after the floods.”

With respect to climate change adaptation, the Toronto Star reports, “The TD report references estimates that every dollar invested in climate change prevention — severe weather resistant buildings, for example — will yield anywhere from $9-$38 worth of avoided costs in the future.”

In early-February, the Toronto Star reported, “The Energy East pipeline project will increase greenhouse gas emissions by up to 32 million tonnes a year, says a report from the Pembina Institute. …That’s equivalent to the emissions from 7.5 to 8.1 million cars. Put another way, it cancels out the entire impact of Ontario shutting down its coal-fired electricity generating stations. …The pipeline would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil a day… (Tar sands) production is set to soar from a projected 2.3 million barrels a day next year to 5.2 million barrels a day in 2030.”

In 2012, Reuters reported on a study commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change, that said, “More than 100 million people will die (between now and 2030) and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change… It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.”

For information on our campaign against the Energy East pipeline, please click here.