Energy, Mines and Resources

Government's role in oil and gas development

Climate change and responsible development

Scientific research, traditional knowledge, and personal experience all point to the same conclusion: our climate is changing and Yukon’s land, wildlife, and people need to adapt. 

We recognize that climate change is happening and that global human behaviour is a contributing factor.

Even though our population and our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are relatively small, Yukoners can take the lead by being considerate of our GHG contribution and thoughtful in implementing adaptive solutions.

The actions taken in Yukon will contribute to the broader national and global effort while offering uniquely northern-based solutions to this global challenge.

Being diligent about minimizing GHG emissions needs to be a wholistic approach. It is about reducing emissions throughout our economic sectors: tourism, transportation, building, mining, forestry, retail, alternative energy, and oil and gas.

It is essential that Yukoners use oil and gas resources efficiently and replace them with cleaner or renewable energy sources whenever practical to do so.

While some may see a contradiction between responding to climate change and developing an economy, we see opportunity.

Petroleum-based products are a part of our modern lives even as we strive to find affordable alternatives.

To ensure we continue to responsibly develop oil and gas resources, we know that innovation, scientific research, and implementing new leading practices are key to minimizing the contributions to climate change.

Best practices like protecting permafrost protection and preventing methane leaks from oil and gas operations are put into action through well integrity rules, regulations, and practices. Reducing the use of new permanent road infrastructure by using seasonal approaches, like winter and ice roads, minimizes the need to remove vegetation. In applying best management practices to minimize vegetation loss, we keep the ecosystem intact and allow vegetation to be a carbon sink thus minimizing GHG emissions.

The Yukon government uses local, national and international scientific research and information to help identify and prioritize Yukon’s climate change considerations, needs and responses. Yukon’s Climate Change Action Plan  is our guide to understanding, adapting, reducing, and managing our actions and activities as we face the effects of climate changes.

Governmental strategies such as the Yukon Water Strategy and Action Plan, Yukon Forest Health Monitoring Strategy, Energy Strategy for Yukon and Solid Waste Action Plan reflect climate change considerations made across several departments.

For example, the Energy Strategy for Yukon identifies Yukon’s major GHG contributions as coming from the transportation and commercial, institutional and residential heating sectors.

We are a small populationspread over a vast amount of land. Yukon has the highest per capita road network in Canada with more than 155 kilometers of road for every 1,000 residents. Government has responded to this by taking significant steps to stem GHG emissions from its own fleet.

Additionally, all of the fossil fuels used in Yukon are imported from other jurisdictions. Although the territory has reserves of oil and gas, these reserves  remain largely untapped, with our energy needs met entirely through fuel imports coming from thousands of kilometers away.

The Yukon government encourages the use of our natural resources to replace imported products. This is part of government’s overall efforts to rely on local energy sources where possible to ensure a stable and secure energy supply for Yukon.

Using the territory’s oil and gas resources could reduce the amount of energy consumed when transporting imported fuels from outside the territory,  resulting in lower energy costs and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing our energy consumption, transitioning to cleaner fuels, and replacing imported energy with locally produced energy is all part of our collective response to climate change while responsibly developing our natural resources.

Learn more about stewardship in oil and gas development

Questions or comments? Contact us: 


Oil and Gas Resources
Phone: 867.393.7042
Toll-free: 1.800.661.0408 ext. 7042
Email: oilandgasconversation@gov.yk.ca