In the town of Iqaluit, all the buildings and roads were designed to sit on permanently frozen ground. But as temperatures rise, the permafrost is melting and homes are sinking. Photo: Saffron Blaze / Wikimedia Commons

By Carrie Swiggum
15 May 2017

(PRI) – The territory of Nunavut lies in the northernmost reaches of the globe. Iqaluit, the capital, is just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. And it’s warming at twice the global rate. There are now shrubs where once there was only ice. The town's buildings were designed to stand on permafrost, and now, as the ground thaws, those structures — as well as roads and runways — are sinking and wearing away.

While those daily reminders are the new normal in the north, politicians are still trying to figure out how to curb emissions and tax polluters. In May 2015, the conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a non-binding carbon reduction plan which they submitted to the Paris Climate Agreement. The plan calls for Canada to cut emissions by 30 percent of their 2005 levels by 2030.

To accomplish that, the nation would introduce a carbon pricing plan, tax emitters, and phase out coal fired power plants. In the year and a half since Paris, a new Liberal government under Justin Trudeau has also adopted the plan. Speaking in December at parliament, Trudeau gave provinces a choice: either a carbon tax or cap and trade. Under the latter scheme a limit is set on allowable carbon emissions and companies either must pay penalties for exceeding that limit or can sell off credits if they are under. The national carbon tax would start at $10 per ton in 2018, and rise each year to $50 per ton in 2022.

“If neither price nor cap and trade is in place by 2018, the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons to applause, and added, “Because pollution crosses borders, all provinces must do their part.” [more]

Faced with climate change, Canadian Arctic residents fear their way of life is melting away

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