Minister Wilkinson Releases New Report Showing the Impacts of Climate Change in Quebec and the Adaptation Efforts Underway
From: Natural Resources Canada
August 9, 2022
Communities across Quebec have already felt the impact of our changing climate. Throughout the province, and particularly in the north, climate change is significantly threatening lands, habitats and biodiversity.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced the release of the Quebec Chapter of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report to help inform and support adaptation to climate change across Quebec.
This new chapter highlights the wide range of climate change impacts that Quebec is facing and how the province is adapting. It discusses the significant risks that climate change poses to Indigenous Peoples and their lands, people living in urban areas, and many sectors, including energy, forestry, mining, tourism and financial services.
In general, the various economic sectors in Quebec are in the process of taking (or have already taken) a first step toward assessing their vulnerabilities to climate change. However, the implementation of adaptation measures is uneven among the various sectors and remains a major challenge that needs to be overcome in some settings.
Although few Quebec municipalities have developed adaptation plans, many are implementing measures to deal with the impacts of climate change. For example, to deal with major and often lethal heat waves, there are several greening initiatives in urban areas, as well as prevention or intervention measures for extreme heat.
The chapter also assesses the vulnerability of coastal regions and water resources in the province, as well as the role of natural ecosystems in adaptation. It concludes that there is evidence of adaptation across all sectors, though the state of progress varies.
In full, this report confirms the rapid pace of climate change in Quebec. Both annual temperature and precipitation have been steadily increasing in the province and are projected to continue to increase significantly. The largest temperature increases observed to date have been in the summer and fall. Extreme heat events are a significant and growing concern. In northern regions of the province, sea-ice cover has declined rapidly and permafrost has thawed, releasing methane. Relative sea level is projected to rise in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and fall in northwestern Quebec, around James Bay and Hudson Bay. These changes are affecting Quebec’s communities, environment and economy.
Since 1950, the average temperature in Quebec has risen by 1 to 3 °C depending on the region (IPCC, 2014a). Without significant GHG mitigation measures, annual average temperatures in Quebec could increase by 3.5 °C relative to the 1981–2010 period by 2050, according to the RCP8.5 emissions scenario (Ouranos, 2015b). By 2080, the corresponding increase in temperatures could be more than 6° C (see Figure 2.2; Ouranos, 2018c).
The report is part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada’s National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how we are adapting. The assessment reports raise awareness and understanding of the key issues facing the country and provide information to support sound adaptation decisions and actions. The Government of Canada is also working with partners in Quebec and across the country on the development of the country’s first National Adaptation Strategy, a whole-of-society blueprint for coordinated action to ensure communities and Canadians are prepared for the impacts of climate change.
“Quebec faces significant climate challenges, particularly in the North, along their coastlines and across urban communities. By ensuring Quebecers have access to credible, evidence-based information, our government is enabling informed decision-making to prepare for, and respond to, climate impacts. Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy will bring together decision-makers to help protect people and improve resiliency while building a clean and prosperous net-zero future.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources
“Throughout regions of Quebec, communities are facing challenges from a changing climate. Important evidence-based information, such as in this report, can help communities prepare. We are working with partners to develop Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy will help support whole-of-society action to address and better prepare for the impacts of a changing climate including communities, the natural environment and the economy. Adapting to the many impacts of our changing climate feels like fighting a two-front war. We can and we must do both mitigation and adaptation — play both offence and defence — for a complete effort.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“This new state of knowledge is all the more important because it provides Quebec society with the most recent and complete picture of all the current and anticipated problems and issues related to climate change in Quebec. Decision-makers and practitioners will therefore have a solid basis for developing and implementing adaptation solutions to learn to live in the new climate reality that is already present in all regions of the province.”
Executive Director, Ouranos
Natural Resources Canada
Press Secretary Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change