Climate Change

2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework and 2019-2023 Action Plan

The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework and 2019-2023 Action Plan lays out the GNWT’s comprehensive and coordinated response to climate change, outlining the GNWT’s long-term approach to developing a strong, healthy economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels; increasing our understanding of the impacts of climate change; and improving our ability to build resilience and adapt to a changing climate.

Climate change in the Northwest Territories

Climate change is one of the most serious environmental, economic and political challenges of our time and is an important issue to Northwest Territories (NWT) residents.

Despite its abundant natural resources, the NWT depends heavily on imported fossil fuels to meet its energy needs. This results in significant per-capita greenhouse gas emissions and high costs in communities.

The NWT is warming at a rate four to five times faster than global averages and this is causing significant changes in the natural environment. These changes include thawing and degradation of permafrost, shorter winters, longer and drier summers, shrinking sea ice and coastal erosion. This is impacting water quality and quantity, species, ecosystems, Indigenous cultures, infrastructure, buildings, some economic activities and the health and well-being of residents.

Risks to economic, social and cultural values in NWT communities will intensify if climate change continues to affect the ability to maintain traditional pursuits and lifestyle.


The backgrounder provides background information on climate change, the national and international situation and the key components in the development of the Framework. It is recommended reading for impacted stakeholders, those interested in climate change, and those planning to supply a submission or complete the survey.

Fact sheets

Recent updates

More information

Current NWT Greenhouse Gas Strategy

The current NWT Greenhouse Gas Strategy provides details on the 2011-2015 Strategy. This section also includes emissions targets, emission reductions potentials and further resources.

Science and monitoring

Science and monitoring provides further details on the greenhouse gas tracking undertaken by the GNWT and Environment Canada. These tracking mechanisms allow the GNWT to report on our progress towards our emission targets. This section also details some of the interesting research projects and partnerships investigating climate change impacts throughout the NWT.

Impacts and adaptation

Impacts and adaptation offers insight into the work currently being undertaken to monitor and observe climate change impacts and adapt to these impacts. Climate change is having an observable effect across the NWT. This section illustrates the predicted changes in NWT ecosystems due to climate change, the impacts being observed in the NWT and the adaptation actions being undertaken by the GNWT.

Renewable energies and energy efficiency

Investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency are undertaken though the Department of Public Works and Services (PWS), with the help of Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA). The GNWT continues to maintain a working relationship with colleagues, providing expertise and resources in developing and promoting the use of renewable energy in the NWT. This section contains information on renewable potential throughout the NWT, as well as ways to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and power our homes and businesses.


Partnerships highlights some of the partnerships the GNWT has developed in order to facilitate increased capacity in dealing with climate change and its impacts.