Yukoner Brian Horton Joins the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices’ Expert Advisory Panel on Climate Adaptation

Brian Horton, Manager of the Northern Climate ExChange, has recently been appointed to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices’ Expert Advisory Panel on Climate Adaptation. The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is a newly created independent climate policy research organization.  With the assistance of expert advisors from across Canada, they will focus on providing an integrated, evidence-based and practical perspective to inform climate policy development and decision-making by governments.

Horton explains more, “the expert advisory panel includes members from academia and the private sector from across Canada. We will be bringing our knowledge of climate change adaptation – gained from practical experience and an understanding of the key issues from our respective regions and/or sectors – to provide guidance on areas for the Institute to focus its work and maximize its impact for all Canadians.”

Of the fifteen voices that make up the panel, Horton is the only member based in one of the three Territories, although he highlights that one of his fellow appointees is from Labrador and does some amazing work with the Inuit in the Eastern Arctic. Reflecting on the opportunity, Horton says, “It’s exciting to have a voice at the very outset of this new organization.  There is a lot of potential for this group to provide new ideas and propose solutions to some of society’s biggest and most complex challenges.”  

He adds, “I’m also honored to be surrounded by some of the foremost adaptation experts in Canada on this Panel. I look forward to not only providing a northern voice on the panel, but to bringing home some lessons that could help the North as it faces the challenges of climate change impacts.”

Ensuring that Canada’s North has the knowledge required to make climate-informed decisions is nothing new for Horton – it is the core of the work that he and his team at the Northern Climate ExChange do.

Horton explains, “We are doing research, and translating climate knowledge that is tailored to the needs of the North.  In the North, we see the effects of climate change in our daily lives, and at Northern Climate ExChange we are working to answer some of the really tangible questions that northerners have about what climate change means to them.”

Currently most of Northern Climate ExChange’s expertise is focused on understanding permafrost, hydrology, and some of the many social impacts of climate change.  “For example,” says Horton, “we work with Yukon Government’s Department of Highways and Public Works to investigate how permafrost thaw will continue to impact Dempster Highway.  We are working with Yukon Energy Corporation to develop forecasting tools that will allow them to project river flow and make informed decisions about water management. Also, we are working with Yukon First Nation partners to develop better access to climate research, and more targeted studies that begin to address their questions regarding climate change impacts.”