Canada's Priorities for COP 21

The science behind man-made climate change is unequivocal. Climate change is a global challenge whose impacts will be felt by all countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable. Indeed, impacts are already occurring across the globe. Strong action is required now and Canada intends to be a climate leader. At the Paris climate conference (COP 21) Canada will work with international partners to achieve an effective and ambitious global agreement on climate change.


Canada’s new approach to global climate action is built on:

  • Fact-based decision making and robust science, reflecting the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Recognition of the necessity of transitioning to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy.
  • Strong collaboration with provinces and territories, and non-state actors to take concrete climate action.
  • Support for climate resilient development and adaptation in countries that need it.

An Ambitious and Effective Global Agreement

Canada seeks the establishment of a durable, legally binding agreement that reflects the strong political will of all Parties to take concrete action on climate change. The new agreement should stimulate ambitious actions of all countries by accommodating different national circumstances and evolving capabilities. Canada strongly supports an outcome in Paris that recognizes the important role played by sub-national governments and non-state actors in the front-line efforts for addressing climate change.

Keeping emissions in check

The agreement should provide a collective vision to keep global temperature increases to below 2°C, at the very least, and to send a strong signal of the global resolve of the needed transformation to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

All Parties should put forward commitments to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases based on their best efforts, and reflecting their national circumstances. All Parties should update their commitments every 5 years, and each subsequent commitment should be progressively more ambitious.

Enhancing accountability and transparency

A common robust transparency and accountability approach of regular reporting and review of Parties’ commitments and their progress in implementing those commitments will provide assurances to the international community that Parties are doing what they set out to do, thus maintaining the trust and confidence needed to enhance cooperation between Parties.

Supporting climate change adaptation

The agreement should provide a prominent focus on adaptation, including building resilience and reducing vulnerabilities. The agreement should reflect the critical importance of actions at the national level, while promoting international cooperation and support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries in their efforts to respond and adapt to climate change. The Paris outcome should also recognize the importance and long-term nature of loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.

Promoting cost effective climate policies

Canada recognizes that carbon pricing is one of the most effective policy measures to drive climate action and the transformation of global energy systems towards cleaner alternatives. Likewise, carbon markets can promote cost effectiveness and cooperation in reducing emissions. The agreement should facilitate the use of international market mechanisms for implementing mitigation commitments in a manner that ensures environmental integrity and avoids double counting of mitigation efforts.

Investing towards a low-carbon future for all

The agreement should facilitate the mobilization of climate financing from a variety of sources, including by all countries in a position to do so, to build the capacity of those countries in need to undertake meaningful mitigation action and to support them in adapting to the impacts of climate change. The agreement should recognize strengthening of enabling environments as key for private sector engagement and investment, the deployment of clean technologies, and innovation support. Parties should also work together to restrict international public financing in maladaptive and high-carbon investments.

Sustaining momentum and progress

The Paris outcome should encourage timely ratification of the agreement by Parties, and establish a comprehensive work program to finalize the implementation details to sustain momentum towards the agreement’s entry into effect in 2020.

Seeking early wins in the pre-2020 period

Parties should continue work collaboratively to take concrete mitigation action in the pre-2020 period, including efforts to reduce short lived climate pollutants, which are responsible for a substantial portion of near term climate change and have health impacts. Parties should also work under the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas.

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