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Presentation on theme: "RESILIENCE AND ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: EXPERT TESTIMONY PRESENTED TO THE SENATE OF CANADA BY: Mohammed Dore, Brock University & CWN."— Presentation transcript:


2 Abstract: This testimony covers (a) the impact of Climate change and natural hazards; and (b) the threat posed by the use of coal and its vast reserves in three countries that control over 80 percent of the coal reserves. On adaptation, I argue that the main impact of climate change is likely to be on Canadian water resources. Such impacts could compromise Canada’s ability to meet the need of its citizens with safety and security.

3 Objectives 1.To complement other testimony, so that I do not repeat what the Committee has already heard 2.To persuade Senate, because only Senate can take a long-term view of the well-being of Canadians 3.To concentrate on my own research and expertise 4.To leave you with a short list of policy priorities

4 Two Premises: 1.I would like to persuade you that water is a rural resource. 2.The main impact of climate change on Canada is likely to be on its water resources.

5 Climate Change & Natural Hazards You will note that geophysical disasters have been stationary over the last hundred years but Hydrometeorological disasters have been rising from about 1942.


7 Some Summary Facts The most important GHGs are: Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ), Methane (CH 4 ) and Nitrous Oxide (N 2 O) and CFCs. CH 4 from past emissions contributes 20% N 2 O, other industrial gases and ODS contribute 20% (CFCs are stabilizing under MP) CO 2 is currently responsible for over 60% of the enhanced greenhouse effect

8 Summary Facts, cont’d Current annual emissions amount to over 23 billion metric tons of CO2 or 1% of the total mass of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere CO2 levels appear to have varied by less that 10% during the 10,000 years before industrialization - in the last 200 years levels have risen by over 30% Even with half the emissions absorbed by oceans and vegetation levels, CO2 levels will rise by greater than 10% every 20 years Some 77 percent of the annual carbon emitted into the atmosphere is from the burning of fossil- fuels

9 World Carbon Accounts ReservoirGt C Atmosphere 750 Forest 610 Soils 1580 Oceans Fossil-fuels: Coal 4000 Oil 500 Natural gas 500 TOTAL FOSSIL-FUEL 5000


11 Who wields the biggest threat of global warming? Just three countries have 82% of the world’s coal: China13% USA24% Russia, Ukraine & Kazakistan45% Share of World82%

12 Policy Consideration Current political and economic influences mean that the use of coal is likely to rise, possibly even in Canada. The use of coal is most likely to increase in developing countries A key priority at the next amendment under UN FCCC (of say the Kyoto Protocol, or its successor) should be focused on discouraging the mining and use of coal.

13 Climate Change & Water We used CGCM1-GG1 climate change model for predicting changes in climate variables. The model gives precipitation projections that do not take local features into account, and hence ‘downscaling’ is carried out which incorporates locational features particular to the region. We illustrate by using Niagara as a case study. The main impact in Niagara is expected to be on wastewater.

14 Precipitation Projections CGCM1-GG1 Proportional Downscaled Precipitation Statistics for Niagara in Millimeters, Monthly Average Data Maximum Minimum Mean Standard Deviation

15 Precipitation Projections (continued) The table indicates that there is an increase in the precipitation mean as well as an increase in its variance. Maximum precipitation, a variable that reflects extreme events also increases dramatically from the baseline period. By 2040, the mean could rise by 6% and the standard deviation by 28% from the baseline period. We find that 118mm precipitation in a single month will force the treatment plants to operate at 100%. Precipitation beyond 118mm a month will cause storm water to overflow into the ecosystem, and wastewater treatment capacity will have to be expanded. Such a critical capacity is shown in each of the following graphs, along with the mean and the 95% confidence interval for precipitation for :

16 Figure 1: Results for Niagara ( )

17 Figure 2: Results for Niagara ( )

18 Figure 3: Results for Niagara ( )

19 Figure 4: Results for Niagara ( )


21 Impacts on Wastewater Infrastructure The precipitation projections outlined will have noticeable impact on all of the systems, but most significantly on areas with combined sewer systems. Systems include some older areas with combined sewers and areas developed later with separated sewers. Combined sewers are designed for both sanitary or sewage flow and storm water. Combined systems are directly impacted by high precipitation due to storm runoff.

22 Impact of Climate Change on Wastewater Infrastructure (continued) With combined sewers, wet weather flow and peak flow conditions can easily exceed the capacity of the transport system resulting in surcharge conditions or basement backups. Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are designed to reduce risks. CSOs are of prime concern as they release water pollutants to natural environment.

23 Impact of Climate Change on Wastewater Infrastructure (continued) Another critical issue with respect to water pollution is by-passing of flow at wastewater treatment plants. High wastewater flows during precipitation and spring runoff result in both CSO and by-passes.

24 Impact of Climate Change on Wastewater Infrastructure (continued) As a result of an increase in the projected precipitation, it is estimated that the design capacity will increase from 32% to 47%. The storage control costs will also increase from the “present needs” by an estimated $54 to $80 million. The total cost (storage + treatment) for the wastewater infrastructure will be between $74 million to $110 million.

25 Indirect Impacts of Climate Change on Wastewater Infrastructure (continued) Variability in precipitation has pronounced impact on water supply. Niagara’s water demands are a mix of domestic, tourists, industrial, commercial, institutional and agricultural needs. Vineyard, tender fruit and greenhouse operations in north Niagara, create peak water demand conditions in the summer. Prolonged hot, dry summers result in increased peak water system demands

26 Capability to Adapt to Climate Change In order to adapt to climate change, Niagara will need the financial resources to increase its capacity to process wastewater, mostly stormwater due to increased precipitation in eastern Canada, as a consequence of global climate change. Indeed it is the lowest level of the government that now faces the most severe challenges, thanks to the process of “downloading.”


28 Adaptation at the Local Level We can see from the above chart that the municipalities are in no position to respond to the challenges of climate change. If the Government of Canada wishes to increase the adaptability of Canadians, then action must be taken where the adaptation expenditures are most likely to be required. For water, those adaptations must be made at the local municipal water and wastewater utility. If in addition, you are persuaded with the recommendations of the IPCC to follow a “no regrets” policy then the Government must enhance the resilience of Canadian infrastructure.

29 Conclusions 1. Hydrometeorological disasters are increasing in Canada, and their severity is likely to increase too, imposing huge damages on the Canadian public infrastructure and private property. Senate may wish to consider increasing funding for the natural hazard portion of OCIPEP. Funding for research into the connection between climate change and increased Hydrometeorological disasters should also be considered.

30 Conclusions, cont’d. 2. Canada should draw the attention of the international community that the next negotiations on a revision of an international protocol under the UN FCCC, should focus of the global threat from the mining and use of coal, so that some early action on discouraging the use of coal is put in place soon.

31 Conclusions cont’d 3. To increase the resilience of Canada and Canadian infrastructure, funding must be directed where is it most needed, but where the fiscal capacity is also the lowest, thanks to downloading. The lowest fiscal capacity is at the municipal level.


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