Climate change adaptation for national parks

Petition: 376

Issue(s): Biological diversity, climate change, governance, human/environmental health

Petitioner(s): Resident of Canada

Petitioner Location(s): Udora, Ontario

Date Received: 27 April 2015

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition asks what the federal government is doing to protect ecosystems within national parks from the effects of climate change. The petition explains how climate change is a key stressor for ecosystems and species at risk. The petition also explains that as ecological conditions shift in response to climate change, the ecology of the area protected by a national park program is affected. The petition asserts that the resulting changes to the habitat could increase the risk of extinction for endangered species now protected by national parks.

The petition highlights the commitment made by the Minister of the Environment in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to “improve the condition of at least one ecological integrity indicator in 20 national parks by 2015.” The petition also requests an update on the progress toward reaching this target.

The petition asks how Parks Canada factors climate change into its commitments. The petition indicates that climate change is altering ecological conditions (for example, the melting of glaciers in Banff National Park). Consequently, the petition asks how Parks Canada can continue to deliver on its mandate to maintain national parks so that they remain unimpaired for future generations.

The petition asks for information on how climate change is reflected in the Canada National Parks Act and what the federal government is doing to monitor and manage the impacts. The petition raises concerns about the lack of information for the public and requests details on management efforts and action plans, including resources budgeted, for current and planned parks. The petition also asks if the government can change park boundaries to protect ecosystems and if it gives special consideration to parks in alpine and northern areas, since these regions are more sensitive to the effects of climate change.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Environment Canada, Parks Canada