N.W.T. creates 15 new climate change jobs

The N.W.T. is forging ahead with several new green jobs, with the creation of 15 new climate change positions to be spread across the territory.

Government says it's about taking a lead on climate change and cutting emissions

Shane Thompson, the N.W.T.'s minister of Environment and Natural Resources, said Tuesday morning that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 'little bit of a delay,' but the government is now able to move forward. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

The N.W.T. is forging ahead with several new green jobs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the 19th Legislative Assembly promised to strengthen the government's leadership on climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Now it will make good on at least part of that promise as it announced the creation of 15 new climate change positions, which will be spread across the N.W.T.

Shane Thompson, the minister of Environment and Natural Resources, told CBC's The Trailbreaker on Tuesday morning that although the COVID-19 pandemic caused a "little bit of a delay," the government is able to move forward with this plan.

He says it's an opportunity for the territory to "continue working on what we see as … significant challenges for N.W.T. residents."

Many of the positions are science-based, including a climate data scientist role, a permafrost scientist and a climate change archeologist.

Thompson says some of the new jobs will involve leveraging additional funding from partners such as the federal government and academic institutions.

Weather stations will also go from seasonal operation to year-round and the territory plans to support the operation and maintenance of new weather stations in the future.

Thompson says the positions will also help monitor climate change data and assess impacts on the territory's natural environment, human health and well-being, public safety and infrastructure.

The positions fall into five departments, Thompson says, with the department of Environment and Natural Resources taking the lead.

Many of the jobs are involved in data collection, and Thompson says it's about making evidence-based decisions and that it also "allows us to tap into our traditional and local knowledge."

The government says it's aiming to train people in the N.W.T. so they can respond to climate change in their own communities. Thompson says these new jobs help with that.

"It's about a team approach, working together and allowing us to build the capacity so these positions will help us reach out further," he said.

"We are not saying these 15 [jobs] are the end of it. It's part of how we move forward."

Written based on an interview by Loren McGinnis


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