Yukon Conservation Society position on a Yukon Carbon Tax
YCS has prepared a discussion paper that provides recommendationd on how Yukon could apply a carbon tax to achieve the Yukon’s share of Canada’s Paris commitments. These recommendations include:
- Returning all the revenue from the carbon tax to residents is the stated aim of Yukon government. If the rebate takes the form of a cheque sent directly to individual Yukoners, frugal behaviour would be rewarded. However, this alone would not enable making big-ticket choices, at least not unless one is already wealthy. For example, converting one’s home from oil or gas heating to an air source heat pump is very expensive for most people. Ditching one’s cheap-to-buy gas guzzler for a PEV is expensive and beyond the reach of many people.
- YCS therefore respectfully recommends that the Yukon direct part of its carbon tax revenue towards rewarding frugal emitters and people living in poverty in the form of rebates, and part of the revenue towards a fund that would enable low- and zerocarbon choices, tackling as priorities the transportation and building sectors.
- Yukon has an Energy Strategy and a Climate Change Action Plan. The documents are produced by different departments and are not tightly integrated. The main driver of climate change is how we use energy. YCS therefore respectfully recommends that Yukon immediately revisit both plans and integrate them into one overarching climate and energy plan.
- YCS respectfully recommends Yukon immediately set a carbon emission reduction goal to aid in crafting the carbon pricing regime.
Read the full paper here.
Natural gas & fracking
Hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' has never taken place in the Yukon and YCS is actively working to ensure it never does. The Select Committee on the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing made a series of recommendations which compounded with economic, climate and environmental realities mean that fracking is very unlikely ever to occur here. However, despite these recommendations, and the widespread opposition to fracking in the Yukon, the Yukon government refuses to shut the door on this destructive and wasteful practice.
Northern Cross Yukon & Eagle Plain Basin
Currently, one company is interested in actively exploring in North Yukon at Eagle Plain. Northern Cross Yukon (NCY), a Calgary-based, majority Chinese-owned minor company with one asset, exploration properties at Eagle Plan, is trying to get through a YESAB screening. NCY wants to drill up to 20 wells to look for oil or gas (depending on the price), build up to 80 km of new roads and run the wells for up to two years each to get a definitive idea of the quantity of oil and gas. In January 2016, YESAB referred the project to a more in depth screening by an Executive Committee of YESAB, based on YESAB’s inability to measure the effect of the project on the movement of the Porcupine caribou herd, and the effect of any changes on aboriginal ability to harvest caribou. NCY took issue with this referral and is taking YESAB to court, seeking to overturn the referral and to get permission to proceed with the project. At this date, the case has not been heard. YCS is of the opinion that this situation is the fault of NCY; throughout the history of NCY’s YESAB applications, dating back to 2006, it has consistently been reluctant to respond to YESAB’s questions and is often dismissive of YESAB’s concerns. NCY’s reluctance to properly engage with the Porcupine Caribou Management Board exacerbated the situation.
The Yukon and The Arctic
The Yukon and the Arctic Research Report was conducted in May 2016 by Pénélope Langlais-Oligny during her internship with the Yukon Conservation Society. The goal of the research was to identify the important issues in the Yukon North Slope and the Beaufort Sea from an environmental point of view to help YCS develop an official opinion on Arctic Ocean issues.The research was presented in June 2016 to YCS with the support of a power point presentation.
This gas basin was offered up for exploration by Yukon Government with the expectation that the resources would require fracking to extract. The public outcry about fracking so close to Yukon’s largest community was so vociferous that the government withdrew it from consideration until at least the next election. This situation, combined with NCY’s proposal to potentially frack at Eagle Plain led directly to the formation of the Select Committee on the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing (RBF).
Southeast Yukon – Liard Basin
Home of the Kotaneelee play, the only historically productive gas field in Yukon. The Kotaneelee ran from 1992 until 2012 when it became depleted to the point it was no longer economic. The Kotaneelee is part of the Liard basin, which was recently identified as being the second largest gas basin in Canada. A small part of the basin is in Yukon. The Yukon government is currently planning further assessment of the basin. All the gas in this basin would need to be fracked.