Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Tracking

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is committed to tracking and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions through its annual greenhouse gas inventories. Greenhouse gas inventories identify our major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and inform mitigation programming decisions. They also help in measuring the effectiveness of our greenhouse gas mitigation programs over the years.

Two types of inventories are conducted by the GNWT:

GNWT Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The GNWT exceeded its 2007 target to reduce emissions from its operations by 10 percent below the 2001 emissions level by 2011. Since then, the GNWT has continued to reduce emissions.

The annual GNWT Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, submitted to The Climate Registry, provides details on further GNWT emissions reductions since the 2011 target. Direct emissions from purchased fuel (scope 1 emissions) in 2001 were 54 kilotonnes. By 2011, emissions decreased 30 percent to 37 kilotonnes.

Since 2011, the GNWT has continued with greenhouse gas emission savings projects within its operations, including:

  • Continuing to shift public buildings, such as schools and health centers, to biomass and hydroelectricity for heating needs.
  • Retrofitting government buildings through the Capital Asset Retrofit Fund.  Retrofits are expected to reduce energy use in each building by 15 percent.

These reductions are reported in the Public Works and Services Energy Conservation Initiatives Report 2015-2016. By continuing to reduce emissions, the GNWT demonstrates its ability to act as a forerunner and provides support for emissions-reducing technologies by demonstrating their efficiency and the savings associated with their use.

Please visit Resources for more information.

NWT Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Environment Canada collects and reports greenhouse gas emissions for all provinces and territories in Canada.

The NWT accounts for a very small portion (less than 0.2 percent) of Canada’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Due to this small total carbon footprint, the yearly variation in emissions levels are very sensitive to a number of factors, rising and falling depending on the use of off-road diesel for large construction projects or the utilization of aviation fuel for mining exploration or forest fire fighting. Changes in these activities can drastically alter the total greenhouse gas emissions of the NWT. Forecasts prepared by the GNWT indicate emissions from new mines and oil and gas production will increase in future if local renewable energy sources are not developed.

NWT Greenhouse Gas Emissions - graph

Despite the NWT’s low total greenhouse gas emissions, on a per-capita basis the total emissions from all activities in the Northwest Territories equal over 33.7 tonnes of emissions per person per year for 2013. This figure is down from 40 tonnes per person in 2001/02 but still remains considerably higher than the national average of 20.7 tonnes per person per year, as of 2013. Higher per capita emissions in the Northwest Territories are due to long distances between communities, an energy-intensive resource industry and long, cold winters.

NWT Greenhouse Gas emissions by source in 2013
Breakdown of emission sources based on the 2013 federal emissions summary.

The largest source of emissions in the NWT is electrical generation for remote mines at 388 kilotonnes (kT) of C02e. All sources of transportation add up to 710 kT, almost 50% of all emissions.

Please visit Resources for more information.