The risks of water
Devastating floods have swept through Pakistan, claiming more than 1,100 lives and damaging or destroying a million homes. And with much of the country’s farmland now underwater, the prospect of food shortages is looming atop already skyrocketing food prices. As scientists told the Associated Press, “The flooding has all the hallmarks of a catastrophe juiced by climate change, but it is too early to formally assign blame.”
In the words of one Canadian expert on water risk, “We experience climate change through the lens of water… Either we have too much water or not enough.” And while Pakistan grapples with this reality, Canada is far from immune itself. According to a new report from engineering services firm GHD, “floods, droughts and major storms that wash out highways, damage buildings and affect power grids could cost Canada's economy $139 billion over the next 30 years.”
The costs are racking up around the world. A new study in the U.S. found that each ton of human-caused carbon dioxide emitted costs society $185—more than triple the U.S. federal government’s current figure. The new value, known as the social cost of carbon, suggests that current efforts are “vastly underestimating the harm” caused by carbon emissions.