Modeling emissions reductions pathways in the Northwest Territories

May, 2023


The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) Department of Infrastructure is reviewing territorial energy and climate change strategies. This project helped to inform this process by answering the following two questions:

  • What is the gap between where greenhouse gas emissions are headed in response to existing policies and emission reduction targets in the NWT?
  • What are the most economically efficient technologies, fuels and actions that could close the gap to the NWT’s 2030 target of 1,094 ktCO2e (a 30% reduction below 2005 levels) and net zero emissions in 2050?


  • The NWT is likely on track to achieve its 2030 emissions target, but achieving a 45% decline relative to 2005 levels (in line with federal commitments) will require additional emissions reduction efforts.
  • The gap to net zero in 2050 is large and would require strong policy to close. This likely requires actions that cost between $300-$700 per tonne of emissions avoided (i.e., requiring a carbon price of that level or a comparable suite of regulatory policies that achieve the same effect).
  • Policymakers seeking to achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions in the NWT should focus on four technological pathways:
    • Maximizing the use of biomass for building heat (e.g., pellets and cord wood).
    • Electrifying end-uses where possible (e.g., building heat, light and medium-duty vehicles).
    • Boosting low carbon electricity supply with renewables and batteries.
    • Using biofuels as a liquid fuel for remaining transport, heat and electricity needs.

Click above to download our technical report.

Click above to view an article on the Government of Northwest Territories’ website, featuring the report.

Download our technical report or visit the Government of Northwest Territories’ website.

This study was commissioned and funded by the Government of Northwest Territories.

To learn more about this research, please contact Aurora Marstokk.

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