Ottawa pledges $1.6B to improve infrastructure as part of new climate strategy

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Ottawa is pledging $1.6 billion to improve Canada’s climate resilience through measures such as better infrastructure and advanced flood mapping.

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The government’s climate adaptation strategy, released on Thursday after nearly two years in the works, contains the promises. It underscores Ottawa’s intention to create a more climate-resilient society, which has been affected by various wildfires and floods over the years.

Ottawa plans to use $1.6 billion to help fund municipalities and townships building public infrastructure that can withstand the effects of climate change, like roads and bridges. It also seeks to ensure that Canadians have access to information to stay safe during events such as wildfires. Ottawa also plans to use the money to work with Indigenous communities on the development of area-specific health initiatives adapted to changing climate conditions.

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“If we don’t do something, we’ve seen the cost of these types of disasters continue to rise and accelerate year after year,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair told reporters on Thursday.

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“By investing in a stronger Canada, investing in a more resilient Canada, we can make a real difference and we can save Canadian taxpayer dollars, and at the same time, make our communities stronger and help Canadians be safer.” can do.”

The goals of Ottawa’s National Adaptation Strategy include improving disaster resilience as well as the health and well-being of Canadians. It also hopes to protect nature and biodiversity, infrastructure and the economy as a whole. The government said in the release that the announced funds would help in looking after its objectives.

Ottawa’s plans include $489 million in federal disaster mitigation and adaptation funds over 10 years, as well as $284 million over five years to strengthen wildfire management.

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In addition, Ottawa will spend $164 million over five years on flood mapping and work with provinces and territories to identify areas at high risk of flooding. There is also an investment of $60 million over five years to accelerate the use of climate-informed standards for resilient infrastructure and $95 million over five years to provide climate tool kits, some of them online, to citizens and governments.

Finally, the plan includes $30 million over five years to expand Health Canada programs to help people protect themselves from extreme heat, and to expand other health programs related to the effects of climate change. $13 million over five years for

“Flooding will happen … there will be heat events, but going forward, we are making significant investments to protect Canadians from those events,” Blair said.

“We will continue to respond to them, but in all of our responses informed by the National Adaptation Strategy, we will be smarter, safer and smarter in pursuing our investments.”

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The government said the strategy is now open to provinces, territories and national Indigenous organizations for the last 90 days of engagement.

Before they released the strategy, Blair and several other Liberal ministers and MPs visited parts of Prince Edward Island devastated by post-tropical storm Fiona two months earlier. This includes Red Head Harbour, where a pier was demolished, one was raised several meters by the storm surge and one disappeared completely.

The storm caused an estimated $660 billion in insured losses. Ottawa has said that by 2030, losses from extreme weather could exceed $15 billion per year. The government said on Thursday that every dollar invested in prevention and preparedness could save up to $15 in costs.

In climate change policy, the term mitigation is used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere, which causes Granthshala warming, and reduce the effects of rising temperatures as much as possible. Adaptation is the term used for actions that adjust our lives to the fact that the planet has already warmed.

Granthshala temperatures have already risen 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. The United Nations has said.

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Ottawa promised to release the strategy by the end of this year, but had hoped to publish it before recent UN climate talks in Egypt. It was not ready then, but the government will be able to present the strategy at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Montreal next month.

With files from The Canadian Press

Ottawa pledges $1.6B to improve infrastructure as part of new climate strategy

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