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Policy report

What needs to change in a changing climate: managing risk requires decisive policy and innovative technology

A 'Canada Next: 12 ways to get ahead of disruption' report

17 Jan 2019

Summary and recommendations:

Climate change is creating a growing array of economic and societal costs and risks, including severe flooding and forest fires, threats to infrastructure, and the risk of stranded assets in oil and gas production and distribution worth many billions of dollars. At the same time, potential opportunities exist in the low-carbon economy as public and private organizations develop innovative, disruptive technologies. 

Managing climate change risk will be critically important to Canada and the international community for decades to come, as evidenced by the fact that other jurisdictions are already moving forward with effective regulatory and policy practices. Innovative public policy and technology will be required in Canada to address and manage climate change risks, and to promote faster adaptation without sacrificing robust economic growth. 

While we have made a strong start in addressing the consequences of climate change, the Government of Canada needs to focus its policies on completing and implementing key transitions, such as:

  • establish carbon pricing and revenue cycling, as well as complementary smart regulations where pricing requires support 
  • significantly expand public investment in infrastructure to reflect the increased frequency of extreme weather events and their related impacts 
  • enhance regulatory oversight to avoid stranded assets 
  • foster the development and commercialization of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • promote public and private procurement of technologies that reduce GHG emissions without relying on these technologies to meet emissions targets.
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