NRTEE: Climate Change To Cost Canada Billions
The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) has just released a new report on the impacts of climate change in Canada. Entitled Paying the Price, the NRTEE concludes that climate change will cost Canadians about $5 billion a year by 2020. Costs will continue to climb steeply, to between $21 billion and $43 billion a year by the 2050s — depending on how much action is taken on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions and how fast the economy and population grow, the analysis says.
Keep in mind that the NRTEE is not an environmental organization. It is a group of business leaders, academics and researchers chosen by the federal government to advise Ottawa on how to deal simultaneously with challenges in the economy and the environment.
What is astonishing about this analysis is not only the high anticipated costs or the Conservative government’s delusional response to the report, in which they still purport to be taking climate change seriously despite all evidence to the contrary. The NRTEE says the final costs will ultimately depend, at least partially, on how fast the economy grows. Yet maximizing economic growth is precisely the principal objective of every country in the world, no matter how wealthy, and Canada is no exception. Witness this article in today’s Globe and Mail, which celebrates even a minor uptick in economic growth. Herein lies the conundrum: politicians, economists and policy makers want growth at the highest rate possible. But according to the NRTEE, the more our economy grows, the worse – and more expensive – the impacts of climate change will be. Make sense?