Atlantic Provinces Chapter of Regional Perspectives Report
Communities across the country are experiencing the impacts of climate change, highlighting the need for urgent action to guide climate change adaptation policy and actions in Canada.
The Atlantic Provinces chapter is part of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report, which provides science-based information on the impacts of climate change on the communities, environment and economy of the Atlantic Provinces. The chapter also highlights concrete, on-the-ground examples of actions underway to adapt to these impacts and improve resilience.
Key findings of the Atlantic Provinces chapter are:
- Infrastructure is being threatened by increased flooding and erosion: Climate change is amplifying existing flood risks in Atlantic Canada’s coastal areas and in locations that are prone to overland flooding and erosion. Recognizing the risks, a range of adaptation measures are being implemented, including changes to infrastructure design using engineered protective structures and nature-based approaches to protect the coast.
- Climate change is exacerbating risks to health and well-being: People living in Atlantic Canada are facing significant risks to their physical and mental health and well-being from climate change. Climate change exacerbates health issues associated with existing vulnerabilities in the region, which are influenced by factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, employment and living arrangements. Adaptation measures include public education, vulnerability mapping and actions to address health risks and their underlying factors.
- Indigenous experiences inform adaptation in Atlantic Canada: The Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy have occupied the Maritimes since time immemorial and have adapted to changes in climate and the environment over countless generations. Partnerships with, and leadership by, local Indigenous Peoples are vital to ensuring that the knowledge, perspectives and experiences that they hold from living on the land inform adaptation in their communities and in the region.
- Forestry, agriculture and fisheries are vulnerable to climate change: Atlantic Canada’s natural resource industries are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. While examples of adaptation are found in each sector ― forestry, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture ― there remains a lack of collaboration amongst stakeholders to reduce risks from climate change.
- Building adaptive capacity will strengthen resilience: Adaptive capacity in Atlantic Canada is often constrained by limited human and financial resources. Partnerships and collaboration between different stakeholders — including governments, NGOs, academia and the private sector — are important for driving adaptation in the region. Outreach, public education and effective communication are key for building adaptive capacity in Atlantic Canada.
The Regional Perspectives Report is a product of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, the national assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing; the impacts of these changes on our communities, environment and economy; and how we are adapting. Chapters from this Report are being released on an individual basis from 2020–2022. Natural Resources Canada leads the National Assessment Process.
Earlier this year, the Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report (June 2021) was also released as part of the national assessment and provides a national science and expert perspective on how climate change is impacting our communities, environment and economy and how we are adapting. The report also assesses Canada’s adaptation efforts and signals the need for increased action on climate change adaptation.
In developing these two reports, Natural Resources Canada engaged experts from academic, government and non‑governmental organizations as lead authors to assess and synthesize science and knowledge including peer‑reviewed literature, government reports and Indigenous knowledge. These reports also involved contributions from a 20-member advisory committee, 165 contributing authors and over 200 reviewers.
The national assessments are collaborative multi-year processes in which experts and assessment users collaborate to assess and synthesize the latest literature and knowledge on climate change science, impacts and adaptation. Findings from national assessments inform decision-making and action to reduce the impacts of climate change by making credible knowledge readily available and usable. While they guide and inform action, they are not policy-prescriptive and do not involve original research.
These reports underpin the strengthened climate plan Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy and will support the development of Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy.
To ensure Atlantic Canada is better prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change, the Government of Canada is providing up to $1.648 million over three years to support CLIMAtlantic — a new regional climate service organization.
Located in Sackville, New Brunswick, CLIMAtlantic will collaborate with climate service specialists located in each Atlantic province (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) to provide on-the-ground support and delivery of climate services.
CLIMAtlantic will provide communities, economic sectors and governments across Atlantic Canada with better access to important regional climate data, information, tools, training and support. It will help decision-makers integrate climate change information into their planning.
CLIMAtlantic is the fourth organization to join the Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS)’s national network of regional climate organizations that also includes Ouranos in Quebec, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) in British Columbia and ClimateWest in the Prairies.
The Government of Canada will continue to expand its network of regional climate expert organizations. In areas not currently served by such existing organizations, the CCCS continues to work with provinces and territories to foster development of new hubs and respond to local needs.
CLIMAtlantic was selected through a competitive Call for Proposal process, managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS), in collaboration with the four Atlantic Provinces.
 The Prairie Provinces chapter was released December 2020 and the remaining four chapters (Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and the North) will be released throughout 2022.
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