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      Vulnerability of Aboriginal health systems in Canada to climate change

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          Abstract

          Climate change has been identified as potentially the biggest health threat of the 21st century. Canada in general has a well developed public health system and low burden of health which will moderate vulnerability. However, there is significant heterogeneity in health outcomes, and health inequality is particularly pronounced among Aboriginal Canadians. Intervention is needed to prevent, prepare for, and manage climate change effects on Aboriginal health but is constrained by a limited understanding of vulnerability and its determinants. Despite limited research on climate change and Aboriginal health, however, there is a well established literature on Aboriginal health outcomes, determinants, and trends in Canada; characteristics that will determine vulnerability to climate change. In this paper we systematically review this literature, using a vulnerability framework to identify the broad level factors constraining adaptive capacity and increasing sensitivity to climate change. Determinants identified include: poverty, technological capacity constraints, socio-political values and inequality, institutional capacity challenges, and information deficit. The magnitude and nature of these determinants will be distributed unevenly within and between Aboriginal populations necessitating place-based and regional level studies to examine how these broad factors will affect vulnerability at lower levels. The study also supports the need for collaboration across all sectors and levels of government, open and meaningful dialogue between policy makers, scientists, health professionals, and Aboriginal communities, and capacity building at a local level, to plan for climate change. Ultimately, however, efforts to reduce the vulnerability of Aboriginal Canadians to climate change and intervene to prevent, reduce, and manage climate-sensitive health outcomes, will fail unless the broader determinants of socio-economic and health inequality are addressed.

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          Most cited references 102

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          Are there social limits to adaptation to climate change?

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            Climate change and the potential for range expansion of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis in Canada.

            We used an Ixodes scapularis population model to investigate potential northward spread of the tick associated with climate change. Annual degree-days >0 degrees C limits for I. scapularis establishment, obtained from tick population model simulations, were mapped using temperatures projected for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s by two Global Climate Models (the Canadian CGCM2 and the UK HadCM3) for two greenhouse gas emission scenario enforcings 'A2'and 'B2' of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Under scenario 'A2' using either climate model, the theoretical range for I. scapularis establishment moved northwards by approximately 200 km by the 2020s and 1000 km by the 2080s. Reductions in emissions (scenario 'B2') had little effect on projected range expansion up to the 2050s, but the range expansion projected to occur between the 2050s and 2080s was less than that under scenario 'A2'. When the tick population model was driven by projected annual temperature cycles (obtained using CGCM2 under scenario 'A2'), tick abundance almost doubled by the 2020s at the current northern limit of I. scapularis, suggesting that the threshold numbers of immigrating ticks needed to establish new populations will fall during the coming decades. The projected degrees of theoretical range expansion and increased tick survival by the 2020s, suggest that actual range expansion of I. scapularis may be detectable within the next two decades. Seasonal tick activity under climate change scenarios was consistent with maintenance of endemic cycles of the Lyme disease agent in newly established tick populations. The geographic range of I. scapularis-borne zoonoses may, therefore, expand significantly northwards as a consequence of climate change this century.
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              A Framework for Assessing the Vulnerability of Communities in the Canadian Arctic to Risks Associated with Climate Change

               J.D. Ford,  B. Smit (2004)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Glob Environ Change
                Glob Environ Change
                Global Environmental Change
                Elsevier Ltd.
                0959-3780
                0959-3780
                22 June 2010
                October 2010
                22 June 2010
                : 20
                : 4
                : 668-680
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Geography, 805 Sherbrooke St. W., McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                [b ]Department of Medicine, Suite 4000 RTF 8308, 114 Street University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
                [c ]Indigenous Environmental Studies, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 514 398 4960; fax: +1 514 462 1846. james.ford@ 123456mcgill.ca
                Article
                S0959-3780(10)00043-9
                10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.05.003
                7125589
                Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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