Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH Extreme heat: Canada must prepare for deadly episodes, says report

Extreme heat: Canada must prepare for deadly episodes, says report


This is the conclusion of the study by the Intact Center for Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, which is the result of consultations with some sixty experts from across the country.

One of the report’s authors, Blair Feltmate, gives the example of the Waterloo region, which currently experiences 10 to 12 summer days with temperatures of 30°C or more, with the maximum sometimes reaching 34°C. According to modeling projections, there could be up to 55 days per year with mercury of 30°C or more by 2050, and the maximum could climb to 38°C.

These extreme heat episodes are likely to become increasingly prevalent across the country, he says, but could particularly affect certain regions at higher risk, based on the trend of recent years:

  • The west coast of British Columbia
  • The southern Prairies, especially along the US border
  • The area north of Lakes Erie and Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley
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Seniors, the homeless and people with chronic illnesses are particularly vulnerable, the researchers said.

Professor Feltmate recalls that more than 500 people died prematurely in British Columbia in June 2021 due to extreme temperatures.

His colleague at the University of Waterloo Joanna Eyquem explains that cities can turn into heat islands in the summer.

Climate risk is already engraved in our future. You have to adapt to it. »

A quote from Joanna Eyquem, environmental professor at the University of Waterloo

What to do?

The report makes a series of recommendations:

  • Promote green roofs on buildings
  • Improve the insulation of homes
  • Use building materials that absorb heat
  • Reduce car traffic
  • Promote architectural designs that reduce heat at the municipal level

Professor Eyquem adds that individuals can do their part, among other things by planting a tree near their house to provide shade.

One thing is certain, according to his colleague Blair Feltmate: we must act, and do so now. Even if we manage to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it will slow the progress of change, but not reverse the situation, he says. We need to prepare better, and with a greater sense of urgency than is the case now.

With information provided by CBC News

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