Energy and Climate Change

The Lancet has called climate change the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, and the World Health Organization estimates that the direct damage costs to health of the changing climate will be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030. Malnutrition, diarrheal disease, respiratory disease, vector-borne disease, illness secondary to extreme heat, and mental illness will all increase. This is not a problem of the future: the head of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, former head of global health at Harvard, predicts increasing conflict over scarcer food and water in the next 5-10 years. Dr Kim has called for a multidisciplinary team similar to the one that has been so successful in the fight against HIV/AIDS to now address the health effects of climate change. CAPE aims to be an essential part of that team in Canada.

There are many things that we can do that not only decrease greenhouse gases, thereby improving health in the long-run, but which have immediate positive health benefits for Canadians. To that end, CAPE promotes the phase-out of coal-fired power across Canada. Coal combustion is a major source of greenhouse gases, mercury, lead, and sulphur dioxide. CAPE played a pivotal role in Ontario’s decision to shut its coal fleet by 2014 – one of the most important climate change mitigation projects in the world. Currently the organization is working to phase-out coal plants in Alberta and Nova Scotia. CAPE would like to see coal replaced by a full suite of renewable sources and robust energy conservation programs.

CAPE also helps to support individual health care providers and physicians across Canada as they work to improve environmental health and support low-carbon policies in their own communities. Please see our interactive map and contact us for mentorship.  We love helping MDs grow in their role as advocates for a healthy climate!

i) Climate Change

Flyers and Posters for MDs

In the News


Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature

Canadian Content in the Peer-Reviewed Literature

Canadian Editorial Content

CAPE’s Position on Climate Change and Human Health

ii) Oil Sands

Human Health and the Oil Sands



Current Monitoring Program: Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Program (JOSM)


  • Bayne EM, Van Wigenburg SL, Boutin S, Hobson KA.  Modeling and field-testing of Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) responses to boreal forest dissection by energy sector development at multiple spatial scales.  Landscape Ecology (2005) 20:203-216.
  • Charpentier AD, Bergerson JA, MacLean HL.  Understanding the Canadian oil sands industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Environ. Res. Lett. 2009, 4, 014005 (11p).
  • Colavecchia MV, Hodson PV, Parrott JL.  CYP1A Induction and Blue Sac Disease in Early Life Stages of White Suckers (Catostamus cmmersoni) Exposed to Oil Sands.  Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues, 69:10,967-994.
  • Dyer SJ, O’Neil JP, Wasel SM, Boutin S.  Avoidance of Industrial Development by Woodland Caribou.  The Journal of Wildlife Management.  2001, Vol 65 (3), pp. 531-542.
  • Giesy JP, Anderson JC, Wiseman SB.  Alberta oil sands development.  PNAS, Vol 107(3)951-952.
  • Hall R, Wolfe BB, Wiklund JA, Edwards TWD, Farwell AJ, Dixon DG.  Has Alberta Oil Sands Development Altered Delivery of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds to the Peace-Athabasca Delta?  PLOS ONE Sept 2012 Vol 7; Issue 9: e46089.
  • He Y, Patterson S, Wang N, Hecker M, Martin JW, El-Din MG, Giesy JP, Wiseman SB.  Toxicity of untreated and ozonetreated oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) to early life stages of the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas).  Water Res Sept 13, 2012.
  • Jordaan SM, Land and Water Impacts of Oil Sands Production in Alberta.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46, 3611-3617.
  • Jordaan SM, Keith DW, Stelfox B.  Quantifying land use of oil sands production: a life cycle perspective.  Environ. Res. Lett.  2009 (4) 024004 (15pp).
  • Kelly EN, Short JW, Schindler D, Hodson PV, Ma M, Kwan AK, Fortin BL.  Oil sands development contributes polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Athabasca River and its tributaries.  PNAS 2009;106(52):22346-22351.
  • Kelly EN, Schindler DW, Hodson PV, Short JW, Radmanovich R, Nielsen CC.  Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries.  PNAS 2010;107(37):16178-16183.
  • Kurek J, Kirk JL, Muir DCG, Wang X, Evans MS, Smol JP.  Legacy of a half century of Athabasca oil sands development recorded by lake ecosystems.  PNAS Jan 2013, vol110: 5, 1761-1766.
  • Machtans CS.  Songbird response to seismic lines in the western boreal forest: a manipulative experiment.  Can. J. Zool. 2006 84: 1421-1430.
  • Nielsen SE, Bayne EM, Schieck J, Herbers J, Boutin S.  A new method to estimate species and biodiversity intactness using empirically derived reference conditions.  Biological Conservation. 137 (2007) 403-414.
  • Rooney CR, Bayley SE, and Schindler DW.  Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon.  PNAS, 2012, 109:13,4933-37.
  • Swart NC, Weaver AJ.  Commentary: The Alberta oil sands and climate.  Nature Climate Change. 2012, Vol 2, 134-136.
  • Timoney KP and Lee p.  Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute?  The Scientific Evidence.  The Open Conservation Biology Journal, 2009, 3,65-81.
  • Timoney KP and Lee P.  Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Increase in Athabasca River Delta Sediment: Temporal Trends and Environmental Correlates.  Environmental Science and Technology 2011
  • Wiklund JA, Hall RI, Wolfe BB, Edwards TWD, Farwell AJ, Dixon DG.  Has Alberta oil sands development increased far-field delivery of airborne contaminants to the Peace-Athabasca Delta?  Science of the Total Environment.  433(2012) 379-382.

iii) Renewable Energy

iv) Coal

v) Diesel


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