Climate change is already having devastating effects in Canada. This report collates scientific projections of how climate impacts will play out up to 2050 and 2100, on low, medium and high emissions pathways.
The science shows that Canada will experience devastating climate impacts if it follows a high-emissions pathway. Without urgent action to reduce emissions, heatwaves in Canada will last 1,306% longer and heat-related excess deaths will increase by 455%. Almost five times as many people will suffer from river flooding by 2050. The combination of sea level rise and storm surges will cause chaos for Canada’s economy, costing around $53.7-108.7 billion with British Columbia experiencing some of the highest costs.
The faster Canada adopts low-carbon policies, the less the climate impacts cascade and the more manageable they become. Limiting temperature rise to 2°C will see the cost of climate impacts in Canada drop from 13.08% of its GDP in 2100 under a high emissions scenario to 4.76%.
Image © Greenpeace / Takeshi Mizukoshi
Explore past, present and future scenarios for climate change in Canada. This section uses the most up to date climate science models to describe how climate change will affect temperature and precipitation trends in Canada. The research shows that on a high carbon pathway, temperatures in Canada could increase by as much as 4.1°C by 2050. On a low carbon pathway this drops to 2.6°C.
How have sea temperatures changed in the oceans surrounding Canada, and what do future climate trends mean for the vital ecosystems and livelihoods supported by Canada’s oceans? This section shows how surface sea temperatures in Canada could increase by 1.5°C by 2050 in a high carbon scenario, triggering a sharp rise in ocean acidification and reducing fish catch potential by as much as 1.6%.
A changing climate could have devastating effects on Canada’s coastal settlements, infrastructure and ecosystems. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion and changing storm patterns could see 0.33 million people exposed to devastating floods by 2050, if it follows a high carbon pathway. Following a low carbon pathway and investing in climate-resilient coastal infrastructure will help Canada avoid the worst coastal impacts.
Clean water is the foundation of all life. This section shows the increasing impacts from climate change threaten our access to water in Canada. Longer droughts, rising sea levels and more extreme weather will increase in the coming decades, choking off our most precious resource. In turn, that impacts agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism – causing massive economic costs. Only a low-carbon pathway can limit the damage.
Agriculture is a core element of Canada’s economy, contributing approximately 1.9% of the country’s annual GDP. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on Canada’s agriculture sector. It shows how climate change will impact crop productivity and put additional strain on Canada’s water resources, with droughts causing water demand to increase by up to 29.4% by 2050 – even in a low carbon scenario.
Forests are key to clean healthy air – supporting thriving ecosystems and economies. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on forests in Canada. If carbon levels remain high, huge losses in forest land will grow, damaging Canada’s agriculture, forestry and tourism industries. With urgent action, a low-carbon pathway will protect our forests from the worst impacts.
Cities in Canada face many threats from climate change. Unless we take urgent action, increasing extreme weather will batter urban communities across the country – damaging crucial infrastructure and causing massive economic losses. Increasing heatwaves and worsening air quality will harm urban residents’ health and even cost many their lives.
The health of our planet is essential to the health of people in Canada. Without urgent action, climate change will drive longer heatwaves, rising sea levels and deadly storms, harming Canada’s economy. Higher poverty means worse health impacts. But on a low-carbon pathway, Canada can improve health outcomes and save lives.
Rising temperatures and more severe heatwaves will affect Canada’s energy system and change the profile of its energy demand.
Heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods and brutal storms. Canada faces multiple threats from climate change. Across sectors – agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, tourism and more – the costs to the economy could be massive. Without urgent action, Canada stands to lose 4.4% of its GDP by 2050. That rises to 13.08% by 2100. By investing in a low-carbon economy now, Canada can limit those losses to 3.24% by 2050.
This section explores Canada’s historic and current emissions as compared with global emissions, and the targets and commitments it has put in place. Canada is the 10th biggest emitter among the G20 countries. Urgent political action is necessary in Canada to secure a low carbon future.