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Yukon Territory wants to work with the NWT government to install fast-charging stations along the Dempster as part of its climate change plan, which is on the verge of going live and residents of the Beaufort Delta are being asked to provide their take on the upcoming policy.

Yukon Territory wants to work with the NWT government to install fast-charging stations along the Dempster as part of its climate change plan, which is on the verge of going live and residents of the Beaufort Delta are being asked to provide their take on the upcoming policy.

Members of the Yukon government presented their proposal at the Midnight Sun Complex on Nov. 30.

Built around six points, the policy has 142 ambitious targets, including having at least 6,000 electric or zero-emission vehicles in use by 2030 and ensuring half the vehicles purchased by the government are zero-emission. The plan also includes installing fast-charging stations to ensure the entire road network is electric-friendly by 2027 – including farther up the Dempster if the NWT is willing.

One point in the action reads, “Work with the governments of British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Alaska to explore options for installing electric vehicle charging stations to connect Yukon with BC, NWT, and Alaska.”

“We’ve proposed a two-part approach to greenhouse gas reduction. The first is looking at emissions from transportation, electricity, heating and a few other areas and aiming to bring those to 30 per cent lower than they are in 2010,” said Aletta Leitch, senior project manager of the Yukon government’s Climate Change Secretariat. “That 30 per cent number is consistent with what the federal government is targeting Canada wide, so it’s a really ambitious target and one we think we can achieve. ”

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Several years in the making, the plan is now in its final draft form for public review. Beaufort Delta residents have been asked for their input because the region’s connection to the Yukon through the Dempster Highway means that economic decisions made in one area will have environmental repercussions in the other.

First on the list is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, both collectively and individually. The Northwest Territories produces approximately 30 tonnes of CO2 per person, while the Yukon produces approximately 20, making them fourth and sixth in the country for greenhouse gases.

By a long shot, the Yukon’s highest source of greenhouse gas emissions is road transportation — 54 per cent. It is unclear how much of that traffic finds its way farther up the Dempster.

Regardless, the plan is to expanding investment in renewable energy and get off-grid communities to reduce their diesel use by 30 per cent by 2030. Similarly, up to 40 per cent of heating is to be built on renewable energy.

One area that is getting somewhat different treatment is the mining sector, which makes up 9.6 per cent of the territory’s GDP. In this case, intensity-based targets will be used, reflecting the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from the mining sector tend to follow the boom-bust cycle of the industry.

“Greenhouse gas emissions generated per unit of material produced from mining, say per kilogram of gold or tonne of zinc, would go down over time,” said Leitch. “If we include mining in our overall 30 per cent target, we run a big risk that a large upswing in mining activity could cause emissions to go beyond that target and make it feel unachievable.
“We’ve seen in the past if a target is unachievable, people stop working towards it.”

Other aspects of the plan include working with hunting groups to mitigate hazards emerging from climate change, such as melting permafrost and ice caps and the problems that can stem from that. Funding initiatives for green businesses and to help current businesses become more energy efficient are also in the works.

Public consultation on the policy runs until Jan. 17. The plan in its entirety can be viewed and commented on at https://engageyukon.ca/en/2019/phase-ii-climate-change-energy-and-green-economy-strategy.

 

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1 Comment

  1. I wonder if the government realizes that electric vehicles will be PARKED all winter long as the cold reduces the life of the batteries exponentially? They would need to run on extension cords.

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