Find out about Yukon-specific climate change information

What is climate change?

Earth’s climate has always changed over time, but the scale of changes happening now has never been seen before.

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, trap heat in the atmosphere. Their concentration in Earth's atmosphere is on the rise and it affects our climate. This is largely the result of human activities like burning fossil fuels.

Climate change has a greater and faster impact on the North than on other parts of the world. Yukon’s average temperature has increased by 2°C over the past 50 years and winter temperatures have increased by 4°C over the same time period. This increase is 2x the rate of southern Canada.

How does climate change affect Yukon?

Climate change effects Yukoners are seeing include:

  • increased average temperatures;
  • changes in amounts of rain and snow;
  • more extreme weather events like lightning storms, strong winds, flooding and fires;
  • melting glaciers and sea ice;
  • thawing permafrost; and
  • changes to lake, river and water quality.

These changes impact Yukoners by:

  • affecting health by limiting access to country foods;
  • affecting the traditional activities and culture of Yukon’s First Nations as wildlife patterns shift; and
  • causing damage to buildings, roads, power lines, water supplies and other critical infrastructure.

What is the government doing about climate change?

The Government of Yukon recognizes that:

  • climate change is happening;
  • human behaviour is a major contributor; and
  • a coordinated response is needed.

Climate Change Action Plan

The Government of Yukon has a Climate Change Action Plan. The plan’s goals are for the government to:

  • enhance our knowledge and understanding of climate change;
  • improve our ability to adapt to climate change;
  • reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • lead Yukon action in response to climate change.

Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change

Yukon is part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The framework commits the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada to collaborate in the following areas.

  • Advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
  • Building resilient communities
  • Developing new research and pilot projects

The Pan-Canadian Framework also lays out Canada’s plan to put a price on carbon across the country. Applying that plan will begin in 2018.

Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing is a cost-effective way for Canada to reduce emissions. It will foster innovation in renewable energy and efficiency, and help build a strong, low-carbon economy.

The Government of Yukon is working with its partners, including the Government of Canada, to make sure Yukon’s unique circumstances are considered when the national price on carbon comes into effect in Yukon.

We have committed to returning all funds collected through the federal carbon pricing mechanism to Yukon individuals and businesses through a rebate.

The federal government completed an analysis of potential impacts that carbon pricing may have in Yukon. The Government of Yukon created a summary of the federal government's analysis to provide important background to consider.

For more information about climate change in Yukon email: climatechange@gov.yk.ca or phone: 867-456-5565 or toll-free in Yukon, NWT and Nunavut: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 5565.