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More extreme rainfall events expected, climate change summit hears


April 14, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Paul Kovacs, executive director of the Toronto-based Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, discussed the state of science with respect to the impacts of climate change on communities in Canada, at the Climate Change Summit in Quebec City on Tuesday.

Climate change is expected to make Canada wetter, warmer and stormierKovacs was part of a four-member international briefing team, joined on the podium by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group; and Alain Bourque, executive director of Ouranos.

“Climate change is expected to make Canada wetter, warmer and stormier,” Kovacs said. “Across Canada we expect more extreme rainfall events that destroy public infrastructure and damage homes, more hot days that threaten our health, and larger and more frequent storms that disrupt society. In addition, we expect more coastal erosion, permafrost thaw and wildfires in vulnerable regions of Canada.”

Kovacs told the attending Premiers, territorial leaders and more than 100 other summit participants that “the consequences of these impacts can be offset to some extent over the long-term by reductions in international greenhouse gas emissions and over the near-term by investing in adaptation.” [click image below to enlarge]

Water damage to homes is increasing, the ICLR says

The current adaptation priorities for ICLR set by its member insurers include the following:

• identify and promote best practices to reduce the risk of sewer backup;

• identify building design and construction practices to reduce damage to new homes; and

• identify actions for homeowners to protect their property.

Related: Ontario adopts cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gases

Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the ICLR, told Canadian Underwriter that ICLR was selected to present along with the others due to its knowledge and expertise in the area of climate change adaptation, particularly around becoming resilient in the face of increased extreme weather events.

“The implications of climate change for insurers mean more frequent and intense weather-related losses and losses due to wildfire,” McGillivray added. “In particular, there will be more urban flooding events leading to basement flooding due to intense rainfalls. Though the science is less certain about wind-related events, we will likely see more storm-related losses going forward.”