CLIMATE CHANGE IS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTING ONTARIO’S
PROVINCIAL AND MUNICPAL INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGETS
TORONTO, December 7, 2021 – Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its Costing Climate Change Impacts to Public Infrastructure (CIPI): Buildings report – one of three reports published by the FAO.
The CIPI buildings report assesses the financial impacts of three climate hazards: extreme rainfall, extreme heat, and freeze-thaw cycles on public buildings in Ontario. The report is part of the FAO’s CIPI project, which estimates the costs that certain climate hazards will have on provincial and municipal infrastructure in Ontario.
Ontario’s provincial and municipal governments currently manage a $254 billion portfolio of buildings and facilities. Public buildings have long service lives and keeping them in a state of good repair will be expensive. If the climate was stable, this would cost $10 billion per year on average, totalling about $799 billion by 2100.
However, climate change is leading to more extreme rainfall, more extreme heat, and fewer freeze-thaw cycles in Ontario, and public buildings will require increased operations and maintenance activities and more repair spending to address accelerated deterioration. Over the remainder of this decade (2022 to 2030), these three climate hazards will add nearly $6 billion to the costs of maintaining public buildings and facilities in a state of good repair.
Over the 21st century, climate change will continue to increase the costs of maintaining public buildings. In the medium emissions scenario, where global emissions peak in the 2040s then rapidly decline, changes in these climate hazards will increase infrastructure costs by an additional $66 billion over the century, or about $0.8 billion per year on average. In the high emissions scenario, where global emissions continue to grow over the century, the additional costs would instead increase by $116 billion, or by $1.5 billion per year on average.
The FAO also explored the financial implications of adapting Ontario’s public buildings to withstand these climate hazards and found that broad adaptation strategies would be modestly less costly for provincial and municipal governments than not adapting. They would also have significant but un-costed benefits, such as minimizing the disruption of public services.
Regardless of whether an adaptation strategy is pursued, climate change is materially increasing the cost of maintaining public buildings in Ontario with significant direct impacts on provincial and municipal infrastructure budgets over the rest of the century.
To learn more, read the full report here.
About the CIPI Project
The FAO’s provincial (November 2020) and municipal infrastructure (August 2021) reports were part of the first two phases of the CIPI project. The CIPI buildings report is the first of three sector reports that present the costing results in the final phase of the CIPI project. Costing results for transportation and water infrastructure will be published in two separate upcoming reports.
The two other reports released today include the FAO’s CIPI backgrounder and a report by WSP Global, with whom the FAO partnered to establish how changes in climate indicators would affect key infrastructure costs. The CIPI backgrounder describes how the climate hazards included in the project were selected, discusses the climate projections provided by the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, and outlines the project’s costing methodology. The report by WSP Global provides details on the engineering rationale for selecting the climate hazards and how they will affect public infrastructure.
- Relative to the 1976-2005 period, Ontario’s average annual temperature is projected to rise twice as fast as the global average by the middle of this century in a high emissions scenario.
- Provincial and municipal public building infrastructure assets include hospitals, schools, colleges, administration buildings, correctional facilities, courthouses, transit facilities, social housing, tourism, culture and sport facilities, as well as potable, storm water and wastewater facilities.
- Increases in extreme heat and extreme rainfall will add to the costs of maintaining public buildings, while the benefits from declining freeze-thaw cycles will modestly reduce costs.
- Additional costing results and data downloads are available on the CIPI dashboard.
About the FAO:
Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit our website at http://www.fao-on.org/en/ and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/InfoFAO.