Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Global warming will destroy Canada's northern infrastructure, says federal report

Shawn Bell in the Slave River Journal (Canada): Global warming will result in major pressures on Canada's northern infrastructure including roads, pipelines and airfields as permafrost melts and shorelines wash away. Yet all levels of government, business leaders and residents are unprepared to deal with these dire effects of climate change in the North, says a new report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

"Canada's North is on the frontline of climate change," states the report. "Melting permafrost is undermining building foundations and threatens roads, pipelines and communications infrastructure. Storm surges, wildfires, floods, blizzards and changing wind and snowstorm patters all pose risks to remote and vulnerable communities."

The report specifically targets the federal government for a lack of a 'high level signal' that adapting to effects of climate change in Canada's North is a top-priority issue needing quick and decisive action.
It also criticizes the federal government for its lack of a centralized agency to collect information coming from remote areas and for cutting funding to environmental monitoring programs in the North.

Pointing to Tuktoyaktuk, where over $8 million has already been spent relocating a school and the RCMP detachment as the Arctic Ocean shore washes away, the report says the federal government should take these additional infrastructure costs into consideration in its Northern Strategy. Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington said the report clearly outlines the problems facing infrastructure in the NWT. Now it is up to the federal government to create a plan to mitigate those problems, he said….

The Athabasca River railroad track at the mouth of Brûlé Lake in Alberta, Canada, shot by Alcazar Mountain, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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