The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (the Institute) is undertaking a multi-year research program to identify and quantify key effects of a changing climate on prosperity in Canada and analyze the benefits of making adaptation and resilience a priority for policy and investment. If we think of the costs of climate change as an iceberg ahead, this introductory paper aims to zoom in on the tip of the iceberg—the known and measurable hazards—as well as the contours of what lies below the water. As policy makers, business leaders, communities and individuals cope with the current impacts of climate change and prepare for a future defined by climate disruption, both parts of the iceberg should be top-of-mind in risk assessments, investment planning, and policy decisions.
Their analysis of existing data and research finds that climate change is already having noticeable impacts throughout the Canadian economy and society, and those impacts are poised to grow dramatically. The full impacts of climate change will affect Canada in ways that have not yet been properly assessed or considered. Moreover, many climate-related impacts are difficult to quantify in dollar terms but have huge significance for the well-being of Canadians and Indigenous peoples.