WHITEHORSE—The premiers of Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are once again stating that the implementation of a carbon tax would have a negative impact on the quality of life in the North. Further, Canada’s climate change goals must be conducted in a way that does not negatively impact northern costs of living, undermine food security or threaten emerging economies.
Climate change is having a disproportionate effect on northern communities and Northerners are already having to invest significant amounts of money for adaptation and to fix infrastructure affected by climate change. In addition to those impacts and costs, Northern premiers noted that all three territories are doing their part and have taken significant actions towards emissions reduction, cleaner energy production, technology and innovation.
Recognizing the significant effect climate change is having on northern communities, territorial premiers reiterated their commitment to address climate change. In fact, the three territories have already launched a Pan-Territorial Adaptation Strategy and are taking actions to reduce their environmental footprints.
“A carbon tax doesn’t work in the North. Instead of imposing a made-in-the-South tax on Northerners, Canada should work collaboratively with the territories to help us implement climate solutions that reflect the realities of Northern communities,” Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski said. “We as territorial premiers must ensure the economic impacts of our climate solutions create jobs, not kill jobs.”
Northern premiers want to ensure that detailed economic assessments are completed on any new national initiatives on climate change, including analysis specifically on possible impacts to territorial economies and Northern families.
“A national carbon pricing strategy could not be viable in the NWT unless it alleviates or compensates for the high cost of living and doing business in the North,” Northwest Territories Premier Bob MacLeod said. “Until there are economically-viable alternatives, carbon pricing mechanisms will not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the NWT.”
“A national approach to a proposed carbon tax has to take into account the unique nature of our Northern territories. Nunavut is already the most expensive place to live and do business anywhere in Canada,” said Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna. “All manufactured goods are imported and it isn’t sustainable to essentially pay a carbon tax twice in our limited economy.”