Canadian Climate Expert Takes on New International Role

Canadian climate expert Dr. Gordon McBean has been elected President-elect of the International Council for Science (ICSU), the first Canadian to hold this office.

The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-governmental organization devoted to international co-operation in the advancement of science.  The ICSU plays an important role in international science, including hosting the World Climate Research Program.  Dr. McBean has been recognized as a leader in climate research, including as a co-author of the International Panel on Climate Report that won the Nobel Peace Prize.  He is also a co-author of the IPCC’s newest report, Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, and is chair of the ICSU Integrated Research on Disaster Risk program. A professor at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. McBean is also the Policy Director for Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

“We have world class scientists here in Canada who are part of the global effort to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis,”said Green Leader Elizabeth May.  “Dr. McBean’s renowned expertise is being recognized internationally but unfortunately our own government is slowly dismantling the scientific infrastructure in Canada, including cutting financial support to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences and the Climate Change Scenarios Network.”

“The IPCC and scientists like Dr. McBean are starting to concentrate on how we are going to adapt to the extreme weather events that are the unavoidable consequence of climate change,” said May.  “Our failure to reduce greenhouse gases globally has now led to an increase in catastrophic events with corresponding economic losses and loss of life. The world’s scientists are sounding warning bells and the Green Party of Canada urges Prime Minister Harper to pay attention before it is too late.”

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, in its report Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada, estimates that the cost of Canada’s failure to act on climate change will range from $5 billion per year by 2020 to as high as $91 billion per year by 2050.  Impacts on forests and coastal areas will be particularly felt in terms of hits to the Canadian economy.  An increase in flooding, wildfires, heat waves, and poor air quality has already resulted in increased death and destruction of property. As a result Canada’s insurance sector is seeing costs from storms and wildfire escalating rapidly.