Climate action’s other benefits
Climate change, while generally very bad news, has at least one silver lining. Yes, it’s a physical and economic disaster (a recent report from the Canadian Climate Institute found that unabated climate change could cause a 12% drop in Canada’s GDP by the end of the century). But on the flipside, the need to fight climate change has accelerated policies and solutions that make life better and cheaper for Canadians (check out this new Clean Energy Canada media brief for more on that). This week’s headlines illustrate this juxtaposition nicely.
The federal government has announced $1.6 billion in funding for a climate adaptation strategy that commits it to “new targets for preventing extreme heat deaths, reversing species loss and protecting homes in flood- and wildfire-prone areas.” The funding goes some way toward the $5.3 billion per year that the Insurance Bureau of Canada says is necessary to address the impacts of climate change. In short, climate change is already delivering a massive bill—and it will only get bigger the slower we act.
The federal government also revealed last week that it will implement the federal carbon price in three Atlantic provinces next summer. As the Toronto Star points out, residents in the provinces where this carbon pricing backstop applies will receive quarterly rebates that, in 80% of cases, will amount to more than they pay. Meanwhile, another federal fund announced last week will provide low- and medium-income households with up to $5,000 to switch from oil to heat pumps, allowing households to save “between $1,500 and $4,700 a year on energy bills.”
Put simply, climate action isn’t about making life more expensive. The opposite, in fact.