NDP Leader Kate White calls for the Declaration of a Climate Emergency

Yesterday Yukon NDP Leader Kate White tabled a motion calling for the Declaration of a Territorial Climate Emergency in Yukon that would require the Yukon Government to apply a climate change lens to every decision made.

“Declaring a climate emergency is a signal to Yukoners and the world that the Yukon Government is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing Yukon for the impacts of climate change,” said NDP Leader Kate White.  “Declaring a climate emergency also means fighting climate change will be no different than fighting a forest fire; all options must be on the table.”

 Between 1948 and 2016 Yukon’s average temperature increased by more than 2°C. This spring the Government of Canada released a report projecting dire consequences for Canada and Yukon if swift action is not taken to curb our collective greenhouse gas emissions. The report found that Canada’s north is warming at three times the global average and scenarios with limited warming will only occur if we collectively reduce our carbon emissions to near zero, early in the second half of the century.

 “In the last year both the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the City of Whitehorse have declared climate emergencies. It’s time for Yukon Government to bravely follow suit,” argued White. “There is no middle ground when taking action on climate change. Committing to tackling climate change means taking action across the board. It means removing fossil fuel subsidies and moving away from fossil fuel generation.”

 In the lead up to the declaration of a climate emergency by the City of Whitehorse some questioned whether it was merely a symbolic gesture.

“Is declaring a climate emergency symbolic? Perhaps, but I’d argue that voting not to declare a climate emergency is equally symbolic,” stated White.

 The Yukon NDP has long advocated for tangible actions. Some of these include rebates on electric vehicles and construction of charging stations; investments in solar, wind and geothermal energy; increased investments in energy retrofits; improvements to Yukon’s Independent Power Production Policy; the creation of a green energy investment; and the development of battery storage, to name a few.