2 Economic Resilience

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Physical impacts of climate change—from rising sea levels to more frequent and severe wildfires and floods—have economic costs that are only expected to increase over time. While the full range of costs may not be accurately captured in GDP, rising costs can affect Canada’s long-term prosperity. Achieving clean growth therefore depends on being able to avoid or reduce those costs by improving resilience and adapting to a changing climate. Governments’ policy choices can affect the scale and pace of resilience and adaptation efforts. Tracking and understanding the impacts and costs of a changing climate can inform those policy choices and help public and private sectors prepare and invest in effective adaptive measures.1

Headline Indicator 2: Frequency and Cost of Climate-related Natural Disasters

Ideally, Canada would track the costs of various impacts associated with a changing climate, including acute weather events and slow-onset changes. For clean growth, we want to limit cost increases over time. At a national level, the Canadian Disaster Database—managed by Public Safety Canada—provides a useful proxy for acute weather events. It tracks the annual frequency and estimated cost of natural disasters over time (Figure 2.1).

  1. Note that this section focuses specifically on the economic costs associated with a changing climate. The human costs—and the distribution of these costs across society—are covered in Indicator #9 (Inclusive Resilience).