Critical infrastructure and atmospheric security—Impacts of climate change

Petition: 380

Issue(s): Air quality, climate change, federal–provincial relations, human/environmental health

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Vancouver, British Columbia

Date Received: 9 June 2015

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition highlights the concern that the National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure does not consider “atmospheric disruption,” or climate change, as a risk that may undermine the security of Canada.

The petition explains that, according to the national strategy, critical infrastructure refers to “processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government.”

The petition lists the 10 critical infrastructure sectors identified in the national strategy: energy and utilities; finance; food; transportation; government; information and communication technology; health; water; safety; and manufacturing. The petition asks why the atmosphere was not included and whether it was considered in a draft. The petition notes that the associated Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure and a 2003 federal report on infrastructure protection identify climate change as a factor that may have an impact on critical infrastructure. The petition also notes that the national strategy acknowledges increases in the rate and severity of natural disasters.

The petition asserts that this increase is a direct result of human interference with the global atmosphere. The petition also asserts that disruption of the atmosphere poses significant risks for future generations and is already resulting in loss of life, adverse economic impacts, and significant harm to public confidence.

The petition asks if, and in what ways, the federal government understands the atmosphere to be critical infrastructure, inquiring if the health of the atmosphere disrupted by greenhouse gas emissions represents a threat. Since the government has identified climate change as a factor that may have an impact on critical infrastructure, the petition asks for the government to address why it has omitted the atmosphere from its national strategy.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, Department of Finance Canada, Industry Canada, National Defence, Natural Resources Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada, Transport Canada