Unveiling the Hidden Costs of Climate Change

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Unveiling Hidden Costs of Climate Change © Courtesy of Foresight Canada

From atmospheric rivers to heat domes, British Columbians are no strangers to the growing threat of climate catastrophe. While we see the visible signs of damage, we don’t always think about the invisible signs of a heating planet.

Between extreme heat waves, fires, and floods, climate change is having a massive impact on the cost of living in B.C.—and it will keep getting worse until we tackle the climate crisis. But it’s not all doom and gloom: programs like Foresight’s British Columbia Net Zero Innovation Network (BCNZIN) are working to mitigate the visible and hidden costs of climate change.

The BCNZIN is a forward-thinking endeavour designed to build capacity and expedite British Columbia’s shift toward a clean, net-zero economy. By uniting stakeholders in a collaborative ecosystem, BCNZIN aims to expedite the creation and adoption of clean technology solutions, making it possible for the province to become a prominent global leader in sustainability.

hidden costs of climate change, foresight canada, british columbia, Jeanette Jackson, british columbia net zero innovation network, BCNZIN
© Courtesy of Foresight Canada

A hub for technological innovation and climate solutions, B.C. is already on the way to this title. In 2021, Foresight reported that B.C. is home to one-third of Canada’s most promising cleantech ventures in the water tech, carbon solutions, hydrogen, and renewable energy sectors.

The challenge lies in creating opportunities within resource-rich sectors like mining, forestry, water, and transportation to partner with and adopt these technologies. Foresight’s BCNZIN makes these opportunities possible by bringing together innovators, government, industry, academia, investors, and First Nations to harness their resources, creativity, and solutions to tackle climate change.

The BC Net Zero Innovation Network will take cleantech innovation in British Columbia to the next level, allowing climate ventures and industry leaders from key sectors across the province to develop and scale critical climate solutions that attract capital, generate green jobs, drive exports, and accelerate domestic industry sustainability. Initiatives like this will significantly accelerate Canada’s transition to a net-zero economy.

The True Cost

The impacts of climate change are only getting more noticeable, and as they do, the repercussions on the lives of British Columbians are worsening, costing millions of dollars and, often, livelihoods.

The 2021 heat dome shattered more than 100 all-time temperature records, while wildfires and floods impacted workers across the province, collectively losing an estimated $1.5 billion to $2.6 billion. During the floods in Southern B.C. that same year, more than 17,700 people were evacuated from their homes—almost enough to fill Rogers Arena. By mid-July 2023, the wildfire season was already B.C.’s most destructive on record.

On top of putting homes and livelihoods at risk, climate-related damages increase the average household’s cost of living by $700 each year, from surging home insurance premiums, higher grocery bills due to supply-chain disruptions, and the costly burden of tax hikes to fund disaster recovery and infrastructure fixes. As these challenges stack, life becomes more challenging for British Columbians.

But it’s not just a B.C. problem—research from the Climate Institute shows that by 2025, climate impacts will be slowing Canada’s economic growth by $25 billion annually, equal to 50 per cent of projected GDP growth. All households will lose income, and low-income households will suffer the most.

On January 6, 2019, Vancouver became the first Canadian city to declare a climate emergency and develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan in order to address the threats associated with climate change. On top of that, the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 details the province’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Foresight seeks to support this roadmap by fostering innovation, exploration, and developing the pilot projects of B.C.’s cleantech innovators that make it possible.

Climate change is a problem without borders. By breaking down silos, Foresight’s BCNZIN connects everyone from industry to individual to ensure we’re making meaningful progress towards net-zero climate goals. The work of building a greener future needs to be a team effort.

Join us as we accelerate the path to net zero at foresightcac.com

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