6 September 2022
Understanding the impact of adaptation on this project requires the following: first, a general grasp of climate change in the Canadian North and its consequences for the CNC, and second, an understanding of adaptation of critical northern infrastructure. [...] With amplified warming effects across the North, adaptation of the CNC is integral to the sustainability of the project; however, the cost and effectiveness of adaptation measures have limits in the face of unrestricted climate change and are constrained by sociopolitical factors that define a community’s capacity to adapt (Adger and Barnett 2009; IPCC 2015). [...] While the CNC itself has the potential to better connect northern communities and increase Canada’s play in the global economy, due to the complex vulnerability of northern communities to climate change, without adequate planning the project could just as likely have the opposite effect, burdening them with the costs of maladaptation and maintenance, or further isolating vulnerable communities due. [...] The economic impacts to the town were substantial due to the disruption of tourism and access to supplies, resulting in a steep rise in the cost of living and an inability to provide critical health care to surrounding communities (Hoye 2017). [...] Churchill is vulnerable in a combination of ways: physically, due to permafrost thaw and other environmental risks; economically, as climate change threatens the diversity of its economy; socially, due to a minoritized population and high costs of living; and politically, due to the lack of collaboration and communication between levels of government.