Yukon MP Brendan Hanley says the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “yet another wake up call” of the action needed to address climate change.
The IPCC finalized its latest report on April 4.
In an April 21 interview, Hanley said the report speaks to the urgency of addressing the impacts of climate change across the globe.
As Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC working group that finalized the report, stated: “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 C (2.7 F). Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”
Hanley pointed out the IPCC report came out shortly before the release of the federal 2030 emissions reduction plan, a document he described as “a really ambitious plan” for the country that will move Canada towards doing its part globally to reduce emissions with a target of 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
“It’s really important to show that leadership,” Hanley said, adding that a lot of initiatives set out in the emissions reduction plan apply to the territory, such as the move to more renewable energy options that can be seen in the proposed hydro expansion project with Atlin.
Nils Clarke, the territory’s Environment minister, also cited a number of initiatives underway at the territorial level, noting that while the Yukon does not represent a lot of emissions, it wants to be a leader in the country.
“And I think we’re on the right track,” he said in an April 21 interview.
He, too, pointed to plans for hydro expansion, pumped storage and more, acknowledging that while many don’t want the territory to be using diesel and liquefied natural gas, 93 to 95 per cent of the territory’s energy comes from renewable energy.
Clarke, who is also the minister of Highways and Public Works, also pointed to efforts that are bringing more electric vehicle charging stations online in the territory, with travellers now able to travel from Watson Lake to Dawson City by electric vehicle with chargers located along the route.
The most recent chargers were installed in Teslin, Whitehorse, Carmacks, Pelly Crossing, Mayo, Watson Lake and Dawson City in 2021.
While Clarke noted the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C will be a global challenge, he also noted his optimism in the efforts underway.
The IPCC report notes that while average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels between 2010 and 2019, the rate of growth has since slowed.
At the same time the costs of solar, wind energy and batteries have decreased with an increasing range of policies and laws in various regions enhancing energy efficiency, reducing deforestation and accelerating of renewable energy options.
As IPCC chair Hoesung Lee stated after the report was released: “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a livable future.”
The report goes on to state that limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector, including a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, more widespread electrification, energy efficiency improvements and the use of alternative fuels such as hydrogen.
Achieving net zero will require new production processes, low to zero emissions electricity, hydrogen and, where necessary, carbon capture and storage, the report states.
“We see examples of zero-energy or zero-carbon buildings in almost all climates,” Skea said. “Action in this decade is critical to capture the mitigation potential of buildings.”
It also shows that to limit global warming to about 1.5 C will require greenhouse gas emissions to peak ahead of 2025 and be reduced by 43 per cent by 2030 while methane would also need to be reduced by about a third globally.
The assessment also shows that limiting warming to around 2 C (3.6 F) still requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.
Many are marking April 22, Earth Day, with tributes made in the legislature and a proclamation declared by the City of Whitehorse to mark the day.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org