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Federal government funds emissions reduction with GNWT

The federal government will spend $23-million over four years on projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the NWT, said environment minister Catherine McKenna in an announcement yesterday.

The Low Carbon Economy Fund will support partnerships between the GNWT and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Avery Zingel/NNSL photo
Environment minister Catherine McKenna announced a $23-million contribution to greenhouse gas reduction projects in the NWT on Oct. 11 at the legislative assembly.

The funds will support new Arctic Energy Alliance programs, an application based grant program for GHG reduction projects.

It will drive retrofits for public housing, ferries and a tugboat in the Marine Transportation Services fleet.

Upgrades will repower vessels with more efficient engines and hydrodynamic upgrades. The upgrades are expected to lower emissions and save on fuel costs.

The final initiative will reforest 120 hectares of land for regeneration and designate 60 hectares of land for thinning, which improves the growth rate of trees.

Total expenditures, including the GNWT and third party contributions will amount to $42.2-million if all programs are fully undertaken.

Full program uptake would lower the NWT’s GHG emissions by 30 kilotonnes, or six per cent of the 2030 Energy Strategy emissions reduction target of 517 kilotonnes.

The strategy aims to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and government buildings by 15 percent and lower GHG emissions from transportation by 10 per cent per capita.

The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework aims to match the 2015 Paris Agreement targets to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issued on Oct. 8 stated there must be a reduction of GHG emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels before 2030 to stay below 1.5 degrees celsius of warming.

Much of the infrastructure (more than $500-million) is tied to the 2030 energy strategy, said Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Wally Schuman.

Pushing the Taltson River Project is a large part of the GNWT’s plan to lower emissions, said Schuman in a news conference Thursday.

“We’re always continuing to look for new technologies,” said Schuman.

To be able to meet additional reductions, the NWT needs to be able to expand hydro.

Asked how talks over the Taltson project went, McKenna responded that the government was “certainly considering how to support a wide range of projects.”

There must be investments in infrastructure that will help communities get off diesel, said McKenna.

“If we don’t act, we will seem extreme weather and extreme climate events,” she said.

The Taltson project powered the Pine Point Mine, damming Nonacho Lake in 1968, but could be expanded to provide power to communities like Whatì and Kakisa, said Schuman.

“It will give us more affordable, secure and sustainable energy,” he said.

Expansion will “green the mining industry” and support companies like Terra X if they proceed on the Slave Geological Province.

The NWT’s energy strategy seeks to reduce GHG emissions from diesel powered communities by an average of 25 per cent.