Canada’s Positions and Priorities at COP 15
Canada's Positions and Priorities at COP 15 (PDF, 131 Kb)
- The science is clear: urgent action on climate change is required. The impacts of climate change are evident, particularly in the Arctic. At Copenhagen, Canada will work constructively to achieve a global consensus on a legally-binding international climate change agreement that is fair, environmentally-effective and comprehensive.
Canada’s Key Climate Change Principles
Canada's approach to Copenhagen is based on five key principles:
- Balancing environmental protection and economic prosperity: taking sustained action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen adaptation to a changing climate, while achieving low carbon growth and sustainable development and not unduly burdening the economic growth potential of any country;
- Maintaining a long-term focus: putting in place the domestic and international policies needed to achieve deep reductions in emissions over time, contributing to the goal of a 50% reduction in global emissions by 2050;
- Engaging and seeking commitments from all major economies: working to engage all countries, in particular major emitters, to commit to long-term mitigation action and to strengthen adaptation in ways that are commensurate with their respective responsibilities and capabilities;
- Developing and deploying clean technologies: stimulating innovation and the rapid and widespread deployment of low-carbon technologies through measures such as market-based policies and strategic technology initiatives and investments; and
- Supporting constructive and ambitious global action: working with our North American partners and with all Parties through the United Nations negotiations to reach a fair, effective and comprehensive global climate agreement.
A Fair, Environmentally-Effective and Comprehensive Agreement
- To be as fair and effective as possible, an agreement at Copenhagen should consist of a single, comprehensive undertaking that includes measurable, reportable and verifiable commitments and actions covering the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries.
- The agreement and the various processes and institutions it creates should support mutual confidence and encourage countries to assume increased ambition over time. It should include a shared vision for long-term cooperative action and should outline enhanced action on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance and investment by all Parties.
A Shared Vision for Long-term Cooperative Action
- The shared vision should emphasize the importance of global action, in recognition of the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperatures above pre-industrialized levels ought not to exceed two degrees Celsius. To that end, a Copenhagen agreement should establish a long-term global emissions reductions goal of at least 50% by 2050, with an aggregate developed country emissions reduction goal of 80% or more, which implies a peak of global emissions around 2020.
- The shared vision should also emphasize the importance of long-term cooperative action to achieve low-carbon growth and sustainable development. This will require sustained global action to increase supplies of secure, affordable and clean energy, dramatically increase energy efficiency, and encourage the rapid development and deployment of climate-friendly energy and clean production technologies.
Enhanced Action on Mitigation
- To be effective, all Parties, with the exception of the least developed, should undertake mitigation action, consistent with their commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Such actions should involve the development of broad, nationally-appropriate, low-carbon growth plans consisting of robust efforts to reduce emissions in the short-term and ambitious long-term national goals and pathways.
- All Parties should develop, regularly update and submit for review and verification, according to agreed frequencies, rules and guidelines, national inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks.
- All developed countries should make comparable economy-wide emissions reduction commitments for 2020, based on their mitigation potential and national circumstances, and subject to an agreed, transparent process of international review. Comparability of overall effort should account for the full suite of a country’s domestic and international mitigation actions, policies and measures, including investments in clean energy technology, research, development, deployment and demonstration, and for its support for mitigation actions by developing countries.
- Canada is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, which includes making significant investments to accelerate the domestic and international development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Canada will align its emissions reduction commitments and actions with those of the United States within the integrated North American economy and energy market.
- Developing countries, with the exception of the least-developed, should commit to nationally-appropriate mitigation actions that, at a minimum, lead to a substantial deviation from business-as-usual by around 2020, based on their mitigation potential and national circumstances. These should be expressed in a new, legally binding agreement in the form of a listing or schedule of commitments to quantifiable domestic actions that would be subject to an agreed, transparent process of international review.
- A Copenhagen agreement should provide for improved incentives for sustainable land management, recognizing the significant mitigation and adaptation potential in the forestry, agriculture and other land use sectors. Mitigation and adaptation initiatives, including those related to sustainable land management, should be implemented in consultation with, and the participation of, affected indigenous peoples.
- Coordinated global action should also be taken to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport and to address the projected significant growth in emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Enhanced Action on Adaptation
- Canada supports enhanced global action to address the adverse consequences and impacts of unavoidable climate change. Long-term cooperative action on adaptation should focus on the poorest and most vulnerable countries, including through scaled-up support for the timely implementation of national adaptation programs.
- Enhanced action on adaptation should focus on the integration of adaptation into relevant national and international programs and policies, improving capacity-building efforts and significantly expanding support for sustainable, climate-resilient development.
Enhanced Action on Technology
- Achieving a long-term shared vision of low-carbon growth and sustainable development, and meeting the mitigation and adaptation goals in a new global climate change agreement will necessitate concerted, cooperative international action to develop and deploy clean technologies.
- Efforts should focus on both existing technologies whose widespread deployment could significantly reduce emissions in the short and medium term, as well as on new, transformational technologies. A Copenhagen agreement should facilitate investments and strengthen international mechanisms for collaborative clean technology development and deployment, while protecting intellectual property.
Enhanced Action on Finance and Investment
- Addressing climate change will require significant, new and ongoing financial flows to support ambitious and sustained actions by all countries.
- The majority of financing over the long-term will need to come from domestic and international private sector investment, including carbon market finance. A Copenhagen agreement should enhance the scale and scope of market-based mechanisms beyond project-based approaches to encourage deeper mitigation and facilitate greater investment flows. These mechanisms will need to be economically efficient and environmentally sound.
- Existing international mechanisms, including international financial institutions, will also need to be enhanced to deliver the additional public funds needed to meet the mitigation, adaptation and technology goals of all countries. Efforts should ensure efficiency and accountability while addressing key priorities such as adaptation by the poorest and most vulnerable countries and research, development, demonstration and deployment of climate-friendly, clean technologies.
- Public finance should also be leveraged to address broad global development priorities that have both strong climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits, for example in agriculture, forestry, access to clean energy, food security and sustainable economic growth.
- Canada supports the provision, as part of a comprehensive agreement at Copenhagen, of fast-start funding starting in 2010 and building to a level of $10 billion annually by 2012. This funding should be targeted to provide substantial support to adaptation in the most vulnerable countries; research, development and deployment of clean technologies; and action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.