Climate Change

    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 about three times the global rate, as highlighted in Canada's Changing Climate Report (2019), which is causing significant changes in the natural environment. These changes include increasing permafrost thaw, greater coastal and river erosion, changing ice conditions and longer ice-free seasons, changes to water quality and quantity, increasing risk of wildfires, and new mammal, bird, insect and fish species moving north.

    These changes to the natural environment are also impacting the health and well-being of residents, Indigenous culture and lifestyle, the territory's infrastructure and some economic activities.

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

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

    The Framework also outlines how the territory will do its part to contribute to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which was released by the federal government, provinces and territories in 2016 to implement Canada's commitment under the Paris Agreement.

    The Framework is directly linked to the 2030 Energy Strategy, which is the primary mechanism that government will be using to decrease the NWT's dependency on fossil fuels, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

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    Science and monitoring

    Science and monitoring provides further details on the greenhouse gas tracking undertaken by the GNWT and Environment and Climate Change Canada. These tracking mechanisms allow the GNWT to report on our progress towards our emission targets as outlined in the 2030 NWT Climate Strategic Framework. This section also details some of the research projects and partnerships investigating climate change impacts in 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 highlights the impacts 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 Infrastructure, in partnership with Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA), to implement the 2030 Energy Strategy.

    Partnerships

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