Notherners vulnerable to climate change effects: report

Northern infrastructure is threatened by the radical changes global warming is expected to unleash, says a federal government report. Ice roads may become unreliable. Highways are already buckling from permafrost melt.

Northern infrastructure is threatened by the radical changes global warming is expected to unleash, says a federal government report.

Ice roads may become unreliable. Highways are already buckling from permafrost melt. Towns and buildings will have to withstand more erratic weather.

These and other dangers are an immediate and long-term threat to Canada’s North, according to True North: Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change in Northern Canada, a report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

The 160-page report is a call to arms to all levels of government and demands a major overhaul of the rules surrounding infrastructure building.

It made 16 recommendations, including:

* National safety and construction standards ought to take the effects of climate change into consideration.

* The insurance industry must work with Ottawa to include protection for northerners from climate change in their policies.

* Emergency preparedness must be increased at the community level to protect people from rapid changes in the climate.

* Industrial waste sites, like the Faro mine, must also be redesigned in light of climate change adaptation.

The report was presented to Environment Minister Jim Prentice last week. (James Munson)

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