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WHY ADAPT? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options for Public Health in Canada Mark Pajot, Masters in Environmental Studies at York U.

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Presentation on theme: "WHY ADAPT? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options for Public Health in Canada Mark Pajot, Masters in Environmental Studies at York U."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHY ADAPT? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options for Public Health in Canada Mark Pajot, Masters in Environmental Studies at York U. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, 2008

2 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, “It is precisely in periods of crisis that the relationship between the parts and the whole appears most clearly.” Antonio Gramsci, 1954

3 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, Agenda WHY ADAPT? –Brief snapshot of the climate crisis. HOW DO WE ADAPT? –Climate change adaptation defined –Examining the current bias towards the risk management model of adaptation –Expanding the role of adaptation to reduce vulnerabilities not just respond to impacts. Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada.

4 CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, Snapshot of the Climate Crisis Arguably the biggest threat to public health in Canada this century Health impacts cause or are caused by: Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007a) Direct effects¹: –Extreme heat / cold; –Extreme weather (natural hazards/emergencies); –Increased flooding; –Reduced air quality Indirect effects¹ –West nile virus; –Lyme disease; –Food contamination; –Drinking / Beach water contamination –Ultraviolet radiation. –Asthma / Allergies –Increased rates of poverty / food security² –Mental Health³ Catastrophic impacts 4 –Rapid sea level rise –Ocean fisheries collapse –Rapid methane release ¹ NRCan (2007) Canadian National Assessment. ² Stern,(2006); Homer-Dixon (2007) ³ Health Canada (2005) 4 UNEP (2007) “In Dead Water”. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, (2007)

5 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, Snapshot of the Climate Crisis Source :http://www.stopglobalwarming.com.au/images/future_forecasts/global_warming_carbon_dioxide_concentration.jpghttp://www.stopglobalwarming.com.au/images/future_forecasts/global_warming_carbon_dioxide_concentration.jpg

6 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, Snapshot of the Climate Crisis Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. New data (post IPCC, 2007) lowers the dangerous threshold here (Hansen, 2007)

7 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, Snapshot of the Climate Crisis Vulnerable populations are most effected: 2003 heat wave in Europe, seniors hardest hit. Air quality impacts on the poor and racial minorities.. Why the injustice? Solutions (like mitigation efforts) must be compatible with economic growth. - Article 2 of the UNFCCC notes that stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere should be achieved in a way that should “enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

8 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, WHY ADAPT? Because at this point mitigation efforts to reduce carbon causing global warming are failing We are witnessing devastating impacts now, especially on vulnerable populations. So we have no other choice

9 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, HOW DO WE ADAPT? “Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions” (IPCC, 2007a) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2007) defines adaptation as “a process through which societies make themselves better able to cope with an uncertain future.” The IPCC propose three types of adaptation 1. anticipatory, 2. autonomous and, 3. planned Much focus is on planned adaptation (Pittock and Jones, 2000, Burton, 2006) “Adaptation that is the result of a deliberate policy decision, based on an awareness that conditions have changed or are about to change and that action is required to return to, maintain, or achieve a desired state.”

10 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, HOW DO WE ADAPT? “A surge in interest in impact-oriented action has been observed since the beginning of the century, in contrast to efforts centred on prevention” (Burton, 2002) Focuses on responding to the impacts of climate change and over emphasizes the management of observed risks. Example Include: Air Quality Health Index, Heat Health Alert Systems, Sun Safety initiatives, Physical infrastructure renewal * Rather than sufficiently addressing the underlying factors that cause vulnerability to it.

11 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, HOW DO WE ADAPT? BUILD RESILIENCY REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH SUPPORT LOCALLY GROWN COMMUNITY FOOD INITIATIVES PROMOTE POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT REDUCE BARRIERS TO EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, and SOCIAL SUPPORT ELIMINATE ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS HOUSING FOR EVERYBODY Source: ACCEPT COMMUNITY VOICE IN PLANNING Reify The Spiritual, and Artistic

12 Why Adapt? A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Options For Public Health in Canada. CPHA Conference, Halifax. Monday, June 2, QUESTIONS? Contact Information Mark Pajot York University Peel Public Health ext


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