Robert C. McLeod: 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework

March 13, 2018
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Delivered on March 12, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this Legislative Assembly made a mandate commitment to develop a territorial climate change strategy that takes into account northern energy demands and the cost of living, while reflecting international and national commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions, exploring options for carbon pricing systems, and capturing local alternatives.

The people of the Northwest Territories are concerned about the changes they are noticing to the land and water. They want to be part of improved planning and communication around climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and they have expressed interest in transitioning to a lower carbon economy.

The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, which will be publically released this spring, will address the concerns and interests of our residents through three key objectives:

  1. transitioning to a strong, healthy economy that is 30% less reliant on fossil fuels
  2. improving our understanding of climate change impacts on the NWT, and
  3. building resilience and adapting to a changing climate.

Mr. Speaker, the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework was developed through extensive engagement with Indigenous, community, territorial and federal governments; stakeholders, such as industry and non-government organizations; and NWT residents. It also addresses many of the findings and recommendations outlined in the Climate Change Audit released by the Office of the Auditor General in October.

During the most recent round of public engagement, we received 145 detailed comments, which were compiled and incorporated, as appropriate, into the Framework. The amount of feedback received demonstrates the importance of this issue to Northerners. A ‘What We Heard’ document summarizing these comments is being finalized and will be posted on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website in the coming weeks.

Following the release of the Climate Change Strategic Framework, an Action Plan for its implementation will also be finalized. This plan will guide the GNWT as we begin work to achieve the goals outlined in the Framework over the next five years. Annual reviews will ensure we are making progress. Every five years, another five-year Action Plan will be developed so that we continue to meet the coming challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

Partnerships with Indigenous governments, communities and stakeholders will be critical for the successful implementation of the Action Plan. Environment and Natural Resources will provide strong leadership and coordination within the NWT and with other provinces, territories and the federal government to ensure its success.

Mr. Speaker, when it is completed, the 2030 Climate Change Strategic Framework will closely align with related plans and strategies being developed by our government, including the 2030 Energy Strategy, the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy and our approach to carbon pricing in the NWT. This coordinated approach to energy and climate change will build on our previous successes to ensure the future sustainability of our communities and lay out a clear vision that will benefit all NWT residents.

This work will take time to achieve Mr. Speaker, but with a clear plan, we will all benefit from this long-term vision for generations to come.

This government has worked diligently to ensure the voices of our Indigenous governments, communities and residents have been included in this comprehensive Framework that will provide us with a roadmap to greater climate change mitigation, resiliency and adaptation over the next 12 years.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input into the future of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Northwest Territories, and I look forward to bringing forward the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework this spring.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.