Canada is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is the key international forum for global efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change.
Canada joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change along with other nations in 1992. The agreement came into force in 1994 and now has near universal membership with 195 Parties (194 member countries and one regional organization, the European Union).
Canada is committed to working internationally to address climate change through the United Nations, including by:
Ever since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force more than 18 years ago, Canada has participated in its meetings to discuss global action on climate change, gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices, and take stock of national and international progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The annual year-end meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COPs) under the Convention have resulted in several major achievements. For example, COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 culminated in the Copenhagen Accord, a significant breakthrough in the global effort to address climate change.
The Accord provides for international review of both developed and developing countries' mitigation targets and actions. Under the Accord, developed countries also agreed to scale up climate financing in both the short and long term to support mitigation and adaptation efforts by developing countries, including collective commitments to:
At COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010, Parties adopted the Cancun Agreements, which bring us closer to implementing the mechanisms and commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord.
The Cancun Agreements provided for:
Building on the Cancun Agreements, the latest round of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations that took place at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa in December 2011 represented further meaningful progress. A key outcome of the negotiations was the adoption of the Durban Platform, which launches a process to develop a single, new, comprehensive climate change agreement by 2015 that will include commitments by all major emitters beginning in 2020. By acknowledging that all countries need to take action if we are to succeed in effectively addressing climate change, the Durban Platform builds upon the success of the Cancun Agreements of 2010 and the Copenhagen Accord of 2009, and represents a significant step in advancing international climate change efforts.
Canada will continue to actively and constructively engage in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations to support the establishment of a fair and comprehensive global climate change regime that will effectively address global climate change and serve Canadian interests.
On January 30, 2010 the Government of Canada inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord an economy-wide mid-term commitment to reduce its national greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent, relative to 2005 levels, by 2020. This target is aligned with the target set by the United States. This commitment has been affirmed under the Cancun Agreements.
To achieve our target, Canada is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmonizing its climate and energy policies with the United States where appropriate.