Canada’s Priorities at COP 19

Canada’s Priorities at COP 19 (PDF: 470 KB)

A Fair, Comprehensive, Global Climate Change Agreement

Canada supports the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, and is committed to ensuring negotiations progress efficiently towards a single, new international climate change agreement. Such an agreement must:

  • Include meaningful and transparent commitments from all major emitters,
  • Support constructive and ambitious global action,
  • Balance environmental protection and economic prosperity, and
  • Maintain a long-term focus.

The Durban Platform acknowledges that a future agreement must be “applicable to all,” and commitments under a post-2020 agreement must reflect current global realities, and be represented in a way that effectively captures the full range of countries’ capabilities and responsibilities now and in the future. The global challenge of climate change requires all major emitters to take on real commitments.

Measurement, Reporting and Verification

A robust system of measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of all Parties’ greenhouse gas emissions is a key driver for enhanced mitigation ambition. Transparency of information and accountability are essential to increase mutual trust and confidence among countries. An enhanced MRV framework contributes to improved transparency and accountability by all Parties. Transparency and accountability must also be a key underpinning of a post-2020 climate change agreement.

Sustainable Management of Forests and Agriculture

Parties are working hard to implement a mechanism to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Canada believes the sustainable management of forests, agriculture and other lands is critically important to the global effort to address climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation, through agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., account for up to one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Protected areas are lands and waters where development and use is restricted by legal or other means for the conservation of nature. Limited development, industrial activity, and harvest of biological resources do occur in some cases. In 2012, the Government of Canada protected 520 146 square kilometres of territory, a 47 per cent increase in the last 20 years—an area of territory ten times the size of Denmark.

The government is also currently taking action to protect an additional 112,206 square kilometres, about twice the size of Nova Scotia, which will result in an overall increase of more than 58 per cent in the total land and water under Parks Canada’s stewardship.

Canada is committed to sustainably managing its forests, and safeguarding the diverse set of values Canadians place on the forests. The Government of Canada recognizes that our forest sector is an important economic driver, providing high paying jobs in rural communities, and producing lumber, paper and energy.

Clean Technology

Canada supports advancing work under the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), a technology mechanism established through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that responds directly to the expressed need of developing countries for more rapid deployment of the best available technologies to help confront climate change.

The Government of Canada believes that concerted and cooperative action to develop and deploy clean technologies, in a way that respects intellectual property rights, is critical to achieving long-term, low-carbon growth and sustainable development. Canada has contributed $2.5 million to the CTCN and holds a seat on the advisory board.

Climate Change Adaptation

Domestically, Canada is taking credible action, based on science, to respond to the impacts of climate change, in particular in vulnerable communities. In 2011, the Government renewed domestic climate change adaptation funding with a $148.8 million investment over five years, to support a suite of programs aimed at helping Canadians adapt to a changing climate.

This funding continues and expands federal programs to improve our understanding of climate change and to help Canadians prepare for climate-related impacts. This funding will allow the Government of Canada to continue to provide credible, scientifically-sound information on climate change to support adaptation planning and decision-making, particularly for Canada’s North.

Internationally, it is clear that global cooperation is crucial to enable the implementation of adaptation actions, particularly in the most vulnerable developing countries and those that are least able to adapt. The Cancun Adaptation Framework, established in 2010, is a key mechanism to enable further, in-depth, and dedicated work on adaptation issues.

Climate Change Financing

Developed countries met the Copenhagen fast-start financing commitment with the delivery of more than $30 billion to developing countries. Canada has fully delivered its commitment, representing $1.2 billion in new and additional public funds over fiscal years 2010-11 to 2012-13, the country’s largest-ever investment in international climate change-related support. Projects are underway and delivering positive results such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increased capacity to adapt to a changing climate. For more, visit Canada’s 2013 Fast-Start Financing Report. Canada remains committed to working with other countries towards the goal of mobilizing long-term financing to address the needs of developing countries in line with the Copenhagen finance commitments.

Moving Forward

The Government has already taken action on two of Canada’s largest sources of emissions – transportation and electricity. With the government’s recent coal-fired electricity regulations, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. Canada is moving to address other major sources of emissions and is currently working with provinces on regulations to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sectors while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive.

While greenhouse gas emissions in Canada rose significantly in the decade prior to 2006, they have since gone down thanks to the real actions taken by consumers, businesses and governments across the country. And this has occurred during a time of economic growth. Thus, Canada is showing the world that it is possible to produce more goods and services whilst using less energy and the Government has accomplished this without having to impose a carbon tax, which would raise prices for everyday household products consumed by Canadian families.

Canada will continue to build on our action-driven agenda to enhance mitigation ambition and share our experience in key complementary initiatives under the Arctic Council, the Montreal Protocol, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Global Methane Initiative, and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. Additionally, Canada, with the United States and Mexico, is leading international efforts to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas. Under its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, Canada is advancing the development of a new arrangement on black carbon and methane to address this pressing environmental issue in the Arctic.

Canada looks forward to working with our international partners to advance these objectives at the 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw, Poland, in order to bring us closer to our goal of a fair and effective post‑2020 global climate change agreement.