Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

TOWARD A CLEANER ENVIRONMENT – Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai, Premier Sandy Silver, Environment Minister Pauline Frost and Mayor Dan Curtis are seen left to right at this morning’s news conference. Below: the audience at the Yukon Visitor Information Centre was socially distanced.

Strategy to cost $500 million over 10 years

Premier Sandy Silver and two of his cabinet minister rolled out their strategy this morning to battle climate change in the territory.

By Chuck Tobin on September 14, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver and two of his cabinet minister rolled out their strategy this morning to battle climate change in the territory.

The strategy identifies 131 specific actions the government will take in the next 10 years to ensure that at least 97 per cent of the energy produced in the Yukon is from a green source.

The government, for instance, wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 30 per cent in the next 10 years.

It’s partnering with the federal government to rebate $10,000 – $5,000 from each government – for people who purchase electric vehicles.

In recognition that not everybody can afford a new electric vehicle, there’s also a rebate to cover the shipping cost for Yukoners who purchase a used electric vehicle from Outside and bring it into the territory.

Our Clean Future: a Yukon strategy for climate change, energy and a green economy is a 70-page document that lays out the 131 initiatives.

“We live in a world that is rapidly changing,” says the document. “Climate change is threatening ecosystems, subsistence harvesting, infrastructure, leisure activities and many other aspects of our lives.”

Silver, Environment Minister Pauline Frost, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai and Mayor Dan Curtis all took turns delivering their thoughts to a large gathering of government personnel and community leaders.

“When our government declared a climate emergency in the territory, people rightly asked – what does that mean?” Silver told the audience.

“It was public acknowledgement of the dire situation our planet is in, and acknowledgement that climate change is real and that everyone, governments, industry, businesses, individuals, all need to take action against this crisis.

“The strategy I am launching today is the action that accompanies this declaration. It is the action plan that our government will follow over the coming decade.”

The premier said over the next 10 years, the two governments will spend $500 million to build thriving, resilient communities that are powered by renewable energy and supported by a sustainable green economy.

“I am so proud of this strategy and the work that went into it,” Silver said. “It is a territory-wide approach developed in partnership with Yukon First Nations, transboundary Indigenous groups, and Yukon municipalities, over the course of three years.”

Silver said the final version of Our Clean Future outlines clear target, timelines and evaluation criteria.

Pillai said if anybody has any doubts about building and creating jobs in a green economy, all they have to do is visit the Solvest solar panel business to see how many people are employed there full-time. (Solvest employs up to 38 staff through the spring and summer, and 28 full-time through the rest of the year.)

When four De Havilland DH-4 biplanes touched down in Whitehorse 100 years ago this year, it was a moment that changed the Yukon forever, he told the audience.

“Our Clean Future aims to be that kind of milestone in Yukon’s history,” Pillai told the audience. “We will add a new chapter to our transportation sector’s story.”

Pillai said they are targeting the transportation sector because it is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the territory.

There are currently 22 electric vehicles in the territory, but the government wants to see more than 4,800 electric vehicles by 2030.

He noted rebates are also available for the purchase of electric motorcycles and electric bicycles, as well as zero-emission snowmobiles.

“By including a large suite of options, the Yukon government is helping support a transition to alternative forms of transportation that cuts across many aspects of everyday life for Yukoners,” Pillai said.

The government will spend $18.4 million over the next 10 years on the transportation rebates, he pointed out.

The Yukon government has committed to make sure half of the new light-duty cars it purchases every year over the next decade are electric.

The strategy also focuses on promoting the purchase of food produced locally as a means for reducing transportation emissions.

There are targets to ensure new residential and commercial buildings are built to high energy efficiency standards.

The government also plans to update its purchasing policy to better support sustainable and local procurement.

There’s a commitment to develop detailed guidelines that can be used by the government and its partners to develop walkable, bike-friendly and transit-oriented communities.

Frost said it was not that long ago that people refused to make the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

She said people are slowly making the change, as the impact of climate change is hitting the Yukon harder than the rest of Canada.

Climate change is happening in the Yukon faster than anywhere else, she said.

Frost said the Yukon’s temperature is rising three times faster than the rest of the world.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for us to come together to share our collective knowledge and experiences to take action for a clean future for our children and grandchildren,” she said.

“Yukoners want to take action on the climate emergency and they want their government to show leadership.

“I’m pleased to be here for the release of Our Clean Future, which clearly lays out the actions our government plans to take.”

Comments (39)

Up 0 Down 0

Brent on Sep 20, 2020 at 5:47 pm

In five years (5) this will seem like cheap at twice the price.

Up 6 Down 3

Wilf Carter on Sep 19, 2020 at 1:37 pm

All the financial outlets in Canada's Federal budget and investment house are all saying that any more debt spending will push Canada past the point of financial failure on what liberals are doing now. First to go will be 50% of our federal services.
Banks could fail, provincial territorial and municipal will have to cut services by a lot.
Health funding will be cut back and needy will die.
Yukoner's and Canadian's wake up to reality. Don't wait until it is to late.
Please check the facts.

Up 15 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Sep 18, 2020 at 11:24 am

If Justin and his ilk were sincere about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the 20 million tonnes of coal exported through the Roberts Bank port each year would be attended to in some manner. The coal is used to create electrical power in their many generation plants and all of the Yukon is but a spec of pollution in comparison.

Up 13 Down 7

Oh Come on on Sep 17, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Commonsense...see, the thing is, you don't actually have to be part of the Yukon Party to have common sense. But it helps...haha!

Up 36 Down 7

Rational Thot on Sep 17, 2020 at 9:44 am

Commonsense.... no one is denying that climate change is real and a threat. The criticism of this horrid plan is valid. We are a tiny population living in a (comparatively) harsh environment. We can’t affect climate change. At all. No matter how much money they waste. Electric cars are simply a poor choice here. These rebate programs have proven to be ineffective. We want real solutions for real problems (problems we are capable of addressing).

Up 4 Down 33

Nathan Living on Sep 16, 2020 at 10:55 pm

We do have to produce more electrical power here and encourage electric vehicle use. Yes people who are better off can afford these vehicles and they will be using the grants.

There are too many people who do not agree climate change is here. Sure other areas are contributing more to the problem but we have to do our part.
Think about California and Oregon and Washington. If we have a dry summer and a wildfire gets going south of town there is little hope of stopping it. All we can do is leave our homes and hope they do not burn.

This brings us back to an energy plan which tries to minimize our impact. We have to change.

Up 44 Down 6

Obi on Sep 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm

What a load of airy, fairy crap!
A half a billion dollars would go a long way to build a substantial new hydroelectric power project at Granite Canyon or another of the viable sites in the Yukon.
Until the Liberal empty suits, start living and dealing in the real world we will continue to wallow in unrealistic pipe dreams.

Up 26 Down 4

U. Lackov-Kommensenz on Sep 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Climate change hoaxers with liberal government propaganda coaxers... Whackadoodle lost my noodle with the whole kit and kaboodle on Election Day when I voted the Liberal way now we gets to pay, pay, pay, and the country is in complete disarray...

Divided we fall to under the Liberal maul.
Keep voting them in and you will lose it all.

Global warming brought to you by the Sky is Falling Corporation.

Up 12 Down 66

commonsense on Sep 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

Yikes I see the Yukon party is here in the comments in full force. Climate change is the biggest threat to our world (yes, bigger than covid in the longer term), and here in Yukon we are experiencing it faster than almost anyone. I'm glad to see action being taken. Anyone who doesn't see this as a threat is an ostrich with head in the sand.

Up 10 Down 52

Klaus G. on Sep 16, 2020 at 6:56 am

Geniuses if you don't think climate change and it's affects are real then you should listen to the Governor of California speak on the issue. Wake up!

Up 8 Down 46

Rolf on Sep 15, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Sagacious Sandy is making sure that Yukoner's will have a chance to do their part for climate change which is almost overdue.

Up 62 Down 14

Max Mack on Sep 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

The triumvirate of FNs, municipalities, and privileged upper middle class & virtue-signalling eco-warriors will ensure perpetual poverty for the rest of us that are expected to pay for this nonsense.

What other services or benefits will be foregone so Silver and his gang can satisfy their sense of moral superiority while currying FN and municipal favour? What other taxes/utilities will be raised to pay for this green-washed nonsense?

Gawd help us all.

Up 82 Down 9

Outsider on Sep 15, 2020 at 2:32 pm

So the plan is to tax hard working folk riding the bus to work a double shift and give well paid government employees huge rebates on a shiny new Tesla to drive around town virtue signalling to their friends?

Up 60 Down 11

Hahaha on Sep 15, 2020 at 2:01 pm

This is nothing more than a really expensive platform...cost to be borne by our grandchildren. This election year, don't base your votes on hogwash like this.
Sure, we all want to see things go a little greener, but borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to do EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE is not the way to do it.
Want to do something, Sandy? Baby steps. This government has done NOTHING in its 4 years. Now it wants votes to make it think it actually has Yukoners' best interests in mind? This is an expensive bloody mess.

Up 53 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Sep 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

More green virtue signalling OR How to justify giving half a billion dollars from the borrowed national slush fund to garner more votes.
If politcians really wanted to signal their virtue related to the reduction of greenhouse gases, we'd know already what kind of low emission vehicle they drive today. It would probably take a reporter 30 minutes to call each MLA and ask what they drive so we can know what is sincerity and what is BS.

Up 66 Down 9

Rational Thot on Sep 15, 2020 at 11:02 am

Oh, Sandy. Your copy/paste the policy of the federal liberals approach is even more out of touch in this instance.

Electric cars? In our extremely cold, sparsely populated northern outpost? Give your head a shake. Batteries lose a significant amount of their capacity in cold weather. As another commenter correctly pointed out, we already don’t have enough electrical production to meet demand in winter. Why? Increased use of electricity used for heating.

My fellow Yukoners, as dear as you all are to me, this fact is irrefutable: we are but a tenth of one needle in a haystack the size of Mount Logan. We could completely eliminate our emissions and it would be as effective as removing a rain drop from the Yukon River.

This money should be completely directed at mitigating the impact of climate change on Yukon. We don’t drive climate change, but we feel like it. Stop wasting the money given to you by the feds. A few rich people getting a nice discount on their new Tesla won’t do a darn thing to move the climate dial back. You’d be better off focusing on increasing our renewable energy capacity for the winter.

Please stop your flavour of the week politics. Please be competent. Do some good before you’re ousted in the next election. Lord knows your replacement won’t.

Up 9 Down 57

Hur dur on Sep 15, 2020 at 10:28 am

These are government bought vehicles for government use which are then sold to the public at auction.
As a taxpayer, wouldn't you want more efficient vehicles that save you (the complaining taxpayer) money?
Complaining about the lack of energy infrastructure which can be remedied by projects which hire locals to work seems like a pretty small and insignificant thing to troll about.
Old white conservative narrative is alive and the only thing getting the star clicks.
Tragedy.

Up 68 Down 5

Joe on Sep 15, 2020 at 8:44 am

Seems like a useless news release and a waste of money. Hey how about spending 500 million on health care, how about opening up public covid testing? How about laying off all the govy workers still sitting at home? This government needs to get a grasp on reality. Things are never going be the same, we don't need pie in the sky energy plans, we need additional health care and a reduction in taxpayer funded jobs that are no longer required.

Up 68 Down 6

SS Klondike on Sep 15, 2020 at 7:27 am

Electric energy is so far away from being green it’s absurd. Whitehorse star should be digging up what the diesel consumption numbers were this past winter. It’s frightening and it’s all because of these ludicrous incentives and Whistlebend “green“ energy homes...probably the biggest oxymoron to date.

Up 69 Down 7

Hypocrisy on Sep 15, 2020 at 7:25 am

We, I mean Canada and The Yukon, still have people who are homeless, we have victims of family violence who have no support, we have many Yukoners who do not have a family doctor and people who are on a waiting list longer than Trudeaus nose Waiting for surgery...and you mean to tell me that we are going to spend a half a billion bucks so some yuppie can peddle around on an electric hike that cost $3000. Beyond ridiculous. Voted out!

Up 59 Down 8

Beaker on Sep 15, 2020 at 7:21 am

Have a good look at the 4 persons in the photo...ensure they never get re-elected again.

Up 11 Down 41

Kiss my beehive on Sep 15, 2020 at 12:51 am

People ignore the truth about how we've ruined this planet because it makes them uncomfortable.
How did saving mother earth become so political?

I'm glad that you asked that Billy. Unlike other "scientific debates" the impacts of climate change are highly dispersed, unequal and most importantly, methods to reduce the rates of climate change are extraordinarily expensive. Major oil companies still employ hundreds of thousands of workers and have revenues larger than some countries. Policies that curb submissions, place quotas or enforce regulatory plans cost those firms, and a credible argument could be made that they also cost jobs. In short, some people care more about their profit margins than they do the environment.

Sorry to leave you all with a sense of overwhelming depression, impending doom and a hate for humanity.

Up 44 Down 3

Martin on Sep 14, 2020 at 10:36 pm

Locals are trying to beat Just-in to the throne speech...... hopefully Canadians will see it through.

Up 50 Down 3

Jack on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Good grief.......

Up 43 Down 11

JC on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:40 pm

Dave: And days when the wind is blowing the right way, China's pollution from their coal fired plants will bring it to the Yukon. And the stupid liberal politicians will think it's coming from here.

Up 49 Down 10

JC on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:36 pm

Notice the Liberals always come up with brilliant plans to reduce employment and increase the social welfare recipients. In ten years most people outside of Government workers will be homeless. But hey, there will be no carbon. In the meantime the premier and MLAs will be living off their huge pensions.

Up 56 Down 8

JohnW on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:59 pm

"Frost said the Yukon’s temperature is rising three times faster than the rest of the world."
Yeah well, anyone who heats with wood, or keeps track of their heating fuel liters, or grows a garden, knows from real experience that the Environment Canada temperature records are correctly showing that the temperature in the Yukon has been dropping for the past 5 years.

The LIB live in a fantasy world defined by their propaganda, where they borrow money from our grandkids to gift their voters generous subsidies for solar and electric cars that only the rich can afford.
The climate is always changing. Humans haven't caused it in the past nor are we causing it now.

Up 42 Down 9

Josey Wales on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:17 pm

That top photo with the four horsepersons of the apocalypse, needs a title better fitting.
Allow me...
" and here we hold, the subjugation handbook" ...just like the back of our civic buses, I could also add..."It's THE LAW"...obey peasants.

Bunch of green washed political blowholes, trying to green wash the rest of us.
And you Dave, how dare you...facts are bigoted and racist.
Seriously, carry on.

Wonder if one could build a electric network of vehicles, without mines?
Rhetorical...for those Liberal cognitively challenged.

Just look at the joy it gives Dan to display his political virtue...oh so progressive.
Really seems everyone is reading from the Portland Oregon SJW handbook.

Germs, the sky is falling zealots, now only a half a billion dollars to start the as duly noted..smoke and mirrors.
Liberal ideologies truly are a mental illness, no offence to those legit like suffering through it.

Up 14 Down 23

Bud McGee on Sep 14, 2020 at 6:50 pm

There aren't enough EV charging stations to be able to drive from Watson Lake to Beaver Creek. Let's address that first.

Up 7 Down 38

Nathan Living on Sep 14, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Time to get an electric car with these grants, thank you Sandy and Justin.

Wish the grant could involve adding a couple of more batteries to my Prius.

Up 49 Down 8

Gringo on Sep 14, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Ok I’ve heard just about enough of this nonsense. If, you like me, are tired of this climate fear mongering machine akin with the federal Boondogglers then vote them into oblivion.

Up 38 Down 5

Matthew on Sep 14, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Oh my... you do know it takes over 8 years for Tesla to equal same CO2 output as a gas vehicle. Year 9 is when it starts to become more "economic".
Let's be clear folks FREE AND CLEAN energy is already here! They can already harvest the hydrogen from water to get fuel. They can already use magnets to produce electrical currents in abundance amounts (searl generator). They are simply trying to buy non educated voters... simple as that..

Up 45 Down 7

Local man on Sep 14, 2020 at 5:23 pm

"There are currently 22 electric vehicles in the territory, but the government wants to see more than 4,800 electric vehicles by 2030"
...have any of the gainfully employed adults explained to ytg that this is a fantasy?

"Pillai said they are targeting the transportation sector because it is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the territory"
Minus perhaps the largest emitter of CO2 and consumer of diesel, Air North?

Up 57 Down 5

Gotta feel sorry for the utility companies :) on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm

What an amazing statement:
"There are currently 22 electric vehicles in the territory, but the government wants to see more than 4,800 electric vehicles by 2030."

Let's go ahead and say that only half of these will have level2 chargers at home (7kW output)... that adds an additional 16.8MW of total demand to the electrical distribution. The Whitehorse dam generation max capacity is 50MW... so along with more demand at Whistlebend and all these new electric cars, what's going to alleviate the additional demand on the system? Diesel or Natural Gennys? New Hydro power? Right. Exactly. These are expensive pipe dreams and not feasible.

Up 39 Down 10

Juniper Jackson on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:16 pm

People need to research what goes into the making of the batteries for electric cars. Until the world does something about China, India, Russia... oh oh.. wait.. Canada did do something about China.. WE lent China the money to build coal plants!! AND https://financialpost.com/news/fp-street/canadian-financial-companies-funding-overseas-coal-plants-as-feds-push-phase-out the largest coal plant in the world funded by Canada in the Phillipines in a Filipino/Chinese venture. Still think its about the environment in Canada? uh huh.

The Carbon Tax, Liberals "Green" crap.. is, and always has been about the money. Carbon Tax money goes to General Revenue. It is not dedicated to the environment in any way. Do Canadian's have a sign on our backs? "i'm a sucker, here's my money?". We seem so ready to believe and act on the most unbelievable *hit. The government, these days can not be trusted. They, the collective Legislature is NOT your friend. Electric cars... oh jeez. please.. JUST look at what it takes to make one. This "big" announcement is again, about the money, and throwing naive people (I couldn't go to this, I had to work) a bone. Give me your vote and I'll tell you anything you want to hear.

Up 26 Down 14

Wilf Carter on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Let talk about the above statement in fact based analysis:
This is right out of Federal and Ontario former liberal play book for climate change.
Climate change has always been around since the beginning of time and as long as earth stays the same it will continue to do that!
Analysis of your statements.
Transportation sector does represent 50 to 60 % of our carbon not green house gases.
Will Yukon Government ministers define what is green house and how do they affect our climate in the Yukon?

Of that 60% created by transportation not green house gases 80% comes from trucking and tourism going through like all the big motor homes.
Don't for get there is trucking to Alaska and NWT through the Yukon every day.
Until you change the fuel used by trucks and motor homes you will maybe reduce the carbon release by 5% at best not 30% which does not add up in science of the subject when you do the math.

Climate change is threatening our ecosystem, subsistence harvesting, infrastructure, leisure activities and many other aspects of our lives.
Climate natural changes parts on our ecosystem over time and that has been recorded over the last 200 years by science people.

I have talked people from Dawson to Watson lake and they have said about berries and foods that it goes up and down depending on the type of summer weather. One elder told me this is normal and she was 90 at the time. Go on facebook and see all the berries people are picking or fish they are catching and game animals they harvesting. Look at Herd in Old Crow - more then there has been in many years.
Salmon is down because of Alaska fishing and Canada Government doing nothing make it right.
Infrastructure in Yukon is no different then any where else it is life span is gone and has to be replaced. Plus there was so much bad construction work like Dawson sewage sewer system which all levels were sold false information and system should have been checked further and it would show that the system failed ever where else. What did cost Yukon here $25 million.
Carmack sewage was a mess and not constructed properly cost $6 million to fix.
Haines Junction Arena footing were under designed and building had problems.
I went and asked City of Whitehorse 6 years ago about management about of our infrastructure maintenance program on our infrastructure program. They fix as needed. I asked when the last time they ran a Camera through the sewage lines they could not answer. The staff at COW do their job best they can but political masters call the shots as staff told me.

Up 48 Down 8

Vlad on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Well, what do you expect from a school teacher? Money grows on the trees and they fall down every two weeks; regardless of the season.

Up 101 Down 16

Dave on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Smoke and mirrors that with one glaring omission ignores the fact there’s an unsolved electricity crunch in the territory already, now they want vehicles to contribute to more electrical demand as well? The electrical companies will be laughing all the way to the bank as they jack electrical rates even further so the virtue signalling Yukon Government can pretend to be doing something in their little playground.
Meanwhile just two Chinese coal powered electrical plants contribute more than Yukon’s entire greenhouse gas output and China is constructing 300 ADDITIONAL coal fired power plants at sites around the world thereby creating another 150 times Yukon’s total output. But yes, as Canadians and Yukoners let’s navel gaze and pretend this announcement will make one bit of difference to the world. It’s a insulting joke to people’s intelligence is what it is.

Up 91 Down 19

TMYK on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Awesome. So the upper crust that can afford an electric car get a rebate. The rest of us just get to pay taxes that go towards giving rich people a break. All those public charging stations around town. Paid for by your tax dollars so those same rich people don't have to pay the electric charge at home.

They talk about a focus on transportation, but our biggest polluters, airlines and mining and other industries heavily invested in by our indigenous governments don't pay a carbon tax. Again that's just for our "thriving" middle class.

These Liberals are so out of touch with regular working Yukoners it's astounding. I truly hope that they are ashamed of themselves at some level.

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