Climate Change

    Why we must act

    Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. It is affecting the Northwest Territories (NWT) in many ways.

    The NWT is warming about four 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 the territory’s residents and their traditional livelihoods, as well as our infrastructure and economy.

    Governments, industry, non-governmental organizations and Northerners are all looking for ways to respond to the opportunities and challenges of climate change.

    How is the GNWT taking action on climate change?

    The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework and 2019-2023 Climate Change Action Plan lay out the GNWT’s comprehensive and coordinated response to climate change, outlining a 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.

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