Skip to content

This week in the House: Timber harvesting and Yukon skipping COP26

Ministers provided updates in the legislature this week on firewood and the international climate conference.

Minister says no Yukon government delegation went to COP26

Environment Minister Nils Clarke said the territorial government didn’t send a delegation to the international COP26 climate conference due to active sitting and COVID-19.

Clarke rose in the legislature on Nov. 26 to give a ministerial statement acknowledging the conference and noting the Yukon’s own climate targets.

“We certainly hope to have a presence at future COPs. The challenge for elected officials and their ministries is that it’s set during this sitting, so I personally wasn’t able to attend,” he said. “I inquired of my officials as to why others didn’t go and it was generally COVID-19 related.”

Clarke said the decision to send people to the conference “is complicated,” since it means burning air-fuel on international travel, but he said in-person meetings are important and lead to major agreements.

The government of the Northwest Territories sent both its Environment Minister and a second MLA to Scotland for the conference.

Clarke said he has a meeting scheduled with federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault to discuss the outcomes of COP26.

The government’s plan to reduce emissions is called Our Clean Future and includes a long-term plan to build up renewable energy infrastructure.

The government has also committed — as part of the CASA agreement signed by the NDP and the Liberals — to reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels in the territory. The plans to reach that target are being developed by the newly-formed Yukon Climate Leadership Council.

Clarke said the goal is “in close alignment with the critically important 1.5-degree warming limit.”

Quill Creek timber harvest moves ahead

More firewood supply is on the way, says Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker.

Streicker rose in the House on Nov. 25 to announce that the Quill Creek timber harvest plan is moving to the next stage after being recommended by YESAB. The project scope is for the harvesting of 136,726 cubic metres of beetle-killed spruce and 26,429 cubic metres of green spruce over a 15-year time frame.

The harvest represents more than 70,000 cords of wood, he said, which should be available to harvest at the beginning of December.

Earlier in the year, the Yukon Wood Products Association raised concerns that due to project delays, the Yukon was running out of wood that was approved for harvest.

“Implementing the Quill Creek timber harvest plan will provide long-term opportunities for commercial fuel-wood harvesting and help to ease pressures around future supply,” he said.

The allowable cut on public lands in the Dawson Forest Resources Management Plan area has also been increased to 28,000 cubic metres per year.

Responding in the legislature, both Wade Ischenko and Kate White noted that the government’s strategy in Our Clean Future features biomass fuel, which will require long-term supplies of local wood.

“I appreciate that this new plan took time, but I’m hopeful that, for future planning, we don’t find ourselves short of timber fuel again,” said White.

Streicker said the government is working closely with the Wood Products Association, First Nation governments and renewable resources council to maintain local wood supplies.

Contact Haley Ritchie at