Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate action

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13Footnote 1 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It emphasizes strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of countries to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. It calls on governments to:

This SDG is the centrepiece for developed countries to work with and assist developing countries on climate change.

Canadian ambitions under climate action

Canada's ambitionsFootnote 2 under this goal are to support Canadians to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure Canadians are well equipped and resilient to face the effects of climate change. Canada's target for SDG 13 is to achieve 40% to 45% greenhouse gas emission reductions below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Measuring Progress: the Canadian Indicator Framework

In collaboration with federal departments and agencies, Statistics Canada has developed the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) for the Sustainable Development Goals. The CIF includes 76 indicators specific to Canada, which measure progress using a set of nationally relevant, objective and comprehensive indicators. CIF indicators for SDG 13 are:

  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • frequency of selected natural disasters
  • proportion of municipal organizations who factor climate change adaptation into their decision-making process

Supplementary indicator

  • Greenhouse gas emissions projections

What we are doing to address climate change in Canada

Canada's approach to climate change

Canada's 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air and a Strong Economy (ERP) was released in 2022. It is the first climate plan under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The plan lays out the next steps to reaching Canada's 2030 emissions reduction target as a concrete milestone that improves transparency and accountability on the way to net zero.

The 2030 ERP provides a sector-by-sector road map to identify climate action and strategies. Some of these actions, outlined in the 2030 ERP and other recent fiscal announcements, include:

  • helping to reduce energy costs for our homes and buildings, while driving down emissions to net zero by 2050 and boosting climate resiliency
  • empowering communities to take climate action
  • helping Canadians make the switch to zero-emission vehicles and choose sustainable transportation options
  • driving down carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector
  • powering the economy with renewable electricity
  • helping industries develop and adopt clean technology in their journey to net-zero emissions
  • investing in nature and natural climate solutions
  • supporting farmers as partners in building a clean, prosperous future
  • maintaining Canada's approach for pricing pollution

The 2030 ERP built upon previous climate plans (for example, 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate that was developed with provinces and territories and in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, and the 2020 Strengthened Climate Plan) to provide an ambitious and achievable roadmap to its 2030 target. Canada is committed to reaching its emissions reduction target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

As announced in the 2030 ERP, the Government of Canada is partnering with First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and representative organizations to set an agenda for climate action and a framework for collaboration that supports Indigenous climate leadership. The goal of the Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda is to implement a model of partnership between the federal government and Indigenous Peoples that:

  • empowers self-determined climate action
  • leverages the transition to a net-zero economy to support overarching efforts towards self-determination, the alleviation of socio-economic inequities, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and
  • supports the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in national climate policy through appropriate governance arrangements, the promotion of Indigenous perspectives on climate change, and the ethical and equitable consideration of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems and science.

The Government delivered on its G20 commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, including through the application, in 2023, of an Inefficient Fossil Fuel Subsidy Assessment Framework to existing tax Measures and 129 non-tax Measures.

Through the Natural Climate Solutions Fund and other programs, the Government of Canada will make progress toward unlocking the power of Canada's natural landscape to:

  • increase carbon sequestration and storage
  • reduce emissions in the atmosphere
  • increase resilience to the impacts of climate change

This will be achieved through activities such as planting trees, conserving and restoring grasslands, peatlands, wetlands, croplands, coastal zones and forests, and by improving agricultural land and forest management. In addition to climate mitigation and resilience benefits, this will provide benefits for biodiversity (including habitat restoration for species at risk), as well as human health and well-being.

Canada, through the 2 Billion Trees program is committed to further addressing its climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by providing funding to provinces and territories, Indigenous governments and organizations, and non-profit organizations, to plant 2 billion incremental trees by 2031.

Canada also supports scientific research in the Arctic through logistical assistance from the Polar Continental Shelf Program. This research helps Canadians understand the effects of climate change in the region and beyond and helps inform adaptation efforts to protect Arctic environments and communities.

Through its Greening Government Strategy, the Government of Canada will take steps to transition to net-zero carbon and climate-resilient operations. It will do so while also reducing the government's environmental impacts beyond carbon, including on waste, water and biodiversity.


The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act enshrines Canada's target to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050 in law. The Act establishes the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target as Canada's Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. The Act requires the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to set the subsequent 2035, 2040 and 2045 targets at least 10 years in advance and develop a science-based emissions-reduction plan to achieve each target. For each target, the Act requires:

  • an emissions reduction plan outlining the measures and strategies the Government of Canada will take to achieve the target
  • at least 1 progress report to update on the ongoing implementation of the emissions reduction plan; and
  • an assessment report to indicate whether a target has been met and to assess the effectiveness of the measures and strategies described in the associated emissions reduction plan.

The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act established a revenue-neutral federal carbon pollution pricing system in 2 parts: a regulatory charge on fuel and a regulatory trading system for industry, the federal Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS). The federal OBPS is designed to ensure there is a price incentive for industrial emitters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and spur innovation while maintaining competitiveness and protecting against "carbon leakage". All proceeds from the federal fuel charge and OBPS must be returned to the jurisdiction where they were collected. Approximately 90% of the federal fuel charge proceeds go directly to Canadians through Climate Action Incentive payments.

The Federal Sustainable Development Act provides the legal framework for developing and implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The FSDS, brings the Government of Canada's sustainability goals, targets, indicators, milestones and implementation strategies together in one place. Under the Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must consult on and table a strategy and produce a progress report once in every 3-year period.


Federal health organizations are working together, in collaboration with other levels of government and stakeholders, to address key impacts of climate change on health and the health system. For example, the Government of Canada provides guidance to help reduce the health impacts of extreme weather events and leads:

  • the expansion of heat alert and response systems across Canada
  • raising awareness of heat-related health risks among Canadians and health professionals through targeted promotional materials, guidance and publications

The Government of Canada generates and collects critical data on climate change and cumulative effects. This information is shared through platforms like the Earth Observation Data Management System (EODMS). This helps to plan climate change adaptations and to respond to climate related emergencies.

A Climate Change Adaptation Strategy has been developed by Real Property Services to allow better understanding of the risks posed by the impacts of climate change to its real property assets. In addition, the strategy allows for the management of climate adaptation needs uniformly across the country in real property management, project delivery and asset operations.

The Net Zero Carbon Portfolio Plan has been developed to determine the most cost-effective pathway to achieve net-zero carbon real property operations by 2050 (with an aspirational target of 2030).

Infrastructure failures from natural hazards and extreme weather events can result in threats to health and safety, interruptions in essential services, significant disruptions in economic activity, and high costs for recovery and replacement. More resilient infrastructure will help communities better withstand damage caused by climate change and extreme weather events while keeping Canadians safe, protecting local businesses, and supporting strong local economies. Supporting the Greening Government strategy, investments in various Infrastructure Canada programs aim to ensure that Canadians have resilient, climate-smart, accessible, and inclusive public infrastructure. Programs such as the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) and the Green and Inclusive Community Building (GICB) program, the Government of Canada is investing in projects that increase the resilience of communities and safeguard against future severe weather events, while also helping meet climate goals.

  • DMAF aims to help protect and prepare communities against natural hazards and extreme weather events triggered by climate change including, but not limited to, drought, earthquakes, erosion, extreme temperatures, floods, permafrost thaw, storms, and wildland fires. The overall objective of DMAF is to strengthen the resilience of Canadian communities at risk of infrastructure failure that could result in threats to health and safety and threats to infrastructure. As part of the National Adaptation Strategy, the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan is providing additional funding through DMAF.
  • Through the GICB Program, Infrastructure Canada supports green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades of existing public buildings or construction of new publicly-accessible community buildings that serve high-needs and underserved communities across the country. The GICB Program supports the first pillar of the Strengthened Climate Plan by improving the places in which Canadians live and gather. It will also help make life more affordable, support thousands of good jobs, and cut pollution by reducing GHG emissions, increasing energy efficiency, building resiliency to climate change and encouraging new constructions to build to net zero standards.

Canada's first National Adaptation Strategy presents a whole-of-society approach to reducing climate risk and building climate-resilient communities. Climate change affects each community and region in different ways. To empower communities, regions and Indigenous partners to develop actions tailored to their needs, while advancing a whole-of-society approach for a safe and resilient future, the National Adaptation Strategy is underpinned by the following 4 principles:

  • respect jurisdictions and upholding Indigenous Peoples' rights
  • strive for equity, climate and environmental justice
  • take proactive measures to reduce climate impacts before they occur
  • maximize positive benefits to people, businesses, and the environment, while anticipating and avoiding any negative effects that could cause potential harm

Along with the National Adaptation Strategy, Canada released the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan as the federal contribution to achieving the goals and objectives of the National Adaptation Strategy. The Action Plan includes over 70 new and ongoing actions by federal departments and agencies, illustrating the depth and breadth of adaptation action being taken.

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has announced over $6.5 billion in support of climate change adaptation initiatives. This investment supports actions targeting the 5 key systems identified in the National Adaptation Strategy. Examples are listed below.

Disaster Resilience

  • Ensuring that Canadians have access to free, up-to-date and high-quality flood hazard maps by investing up to $164 million over 5 years and working with provinces and territories by expanding the Flood Hazard Identification Mapping Program.

Health and Well-being

  • Supporting health and well-being by investing $30 million over 5 years to expand Health Canada's Protecting the Health of Canadians from Extreme Heat Program and $13 million over 5 years to renew and expand the HealthADAPT Program.

Nature and biodiversity

  • Supporting the goals of protecting 25% of Canada's land and waters by 2025, and 30% by 2030 by conserving and protecting national wildlife areas, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, and conserving species at risk through Canada's Enhanced Nature Legacy and Marine Conservation Program.


  • Building climate-resilient infrastructure and natural infrastructure to help communities address climate change disasters by investing nearly $3.9 billion in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund since 2018.

Economy and Workers

  • Delivering programs aimed at helping Canada's regions and sectors adapt to a changing climate by funding the development of tools and resources on topics such as adaptation skills, economics, natural resource sectors and emerging adaptation issues.

Actions also target foundational areas, including the following initiatives:

  • expanding the Green Municipal Fund by $530 million to support community-based adaptation initiatives, in collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • providing Canadians with the information and supports they need to make climate-informed decisions through the Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS)

The federal government is working with provinces and territories to advance bilateral action plans as a key step to implementing the Strategy. Likewise, the government is working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis on a regional and distinctions basis on the Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda, which aims to identify a path forward for self-determined adaptation action that addresses Indigenous Peoples' climate priorities.

The National Action Plan on Open Government 2022 to 2024 makes climate change science more open and accessible, and provides bibliometrics to assess open access of science-based departments and agencies' science (for example, climate change) publications. This permits Canadians and policy makers to have access to the latest science on greenhouse gas sources and sinks, and the response of the climate system to greenhouse gas emissions, increasing awareness of how Canada's climate is changing and providing access to information to support adaptation decision-making. Canadians also have access to seasonal and interannual climate predictions, and longer-term climate change projections to support risk assessment, infrastructure design, and emergency preparedness.

Coastal communities in Canada are experiencing the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, coastal erosion and more extreme storms, flooding and wildfires. These communities face multiple complex risks affecting their health, the environment, and the economy. Canada's Climate-Resilient Coastal Communities (CRCC) Program enables communities and sectors to co-develop coordinated actions that increase their resilience to climate change.

Clean growth

Canada remains committed to fostering clean economic growth and continues to take a number of important actions towards this objective. The opportunity for clean growth extends across every part of the country and all sectors of the economy, from emerging clean tech industries such as clean hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization and storage and batteries to longstanding sectors like energy, renewables, transportation, resource development, and manufacturing.

Recent announcements of new funding through Investment Tax Credits as well as a new focus for the Canada Growth Fund and the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will help mobilize investment in clean growth projects across the country. These will also "crowd-in" new private investment by leveraging public investment and government policy. Investment tax credits (for clean electricity, clean hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization and storage, clean technology innovation and manufacturing) will set a framework for boosting overall investment, while leaving the private sector to determine how to invest based on market signals. In addition, the Strategic Innovation Fund - Net Zero Accelerator and the Low Carbon Economy Fund are supporting investment in clean technology across strategic industries.

Canada's Carbon Management Strategy introduced in 2023, establishes a vision and plan to accelerate the carbon management industry in Canada so that it can realize its GHG reduction and commercial potential across multiple sectors of the economy. In May 2021, the Government of Canada launched the Sustainable Finance Action Council. They released their Taxonomy Roadmap Report in late 2022. The report features a taxonomy framework, developed in partnership with the Canadian Climate Institute, to guide the development of a Canadian green and transition finance taxonomy in which green and transition investments are defined and serve to mobilize capital in alignment with Canada's transition pathways and climate objectives.

What is Canada doing to support climate action abroad

The federal government is making a valuable contribution to international action on climate change and working with partners in lower-income countries to support their own achievements.

Canada plays an active and constructive role in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Canada was also a strong voice in the negotiations towards the establishment of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Canada's actions to address climate change at home and abroad are guided by the Paris Agreement goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Canada also works to limit the impacts of a warming planet and enable ambitious climate action by all Parties to the UNFCCC and relevant non-Party actors.

Canada is delivering on its international climate finance commitments to support developing countries in their transitions to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. In June 2021, at the Carbis Bay G7 summit, Canada doubled its climate finance commitment to $5.3 billion over the next 5 years, including increased support for adaptation, as well as nature and nature-based solutions in line with the G7 Nature Compact. Canada's climate finance plays a key role in delivering on the collective commitment to mobilize US$100 billion each year in international climate finance for developing countries.

Canada is advancing global work on nature-based climate solutions through actions such as the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance.

Canada is also a strong supporter of the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol is the Multilateral Environmental Agreement that has achieved the highest greenhouse gas emissions reductions to date. It stands to avoid up to 0.4 degrees Celsius in warming by 2100 through the implementation of its Kigali Amendment on the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons.

Canada is also a signatory of the Breakthrough Agenda, an international initiative to accelerate clean technology transition in key sectors through strengthened international collaboration, and co-leads a new Cement and Concrete Breakthrough to foster increased international cooperation in the production of low-carbon cement and concrete.

At COP26, Canada launched the Global Carbon Pricing Challenge, an initiative that calls on all countries to adopt explicit carbon pricing systems as an effective policy tool to reduce GHG emissions and incentivize low-carbon innovation and investment with a collective goal of covering 60% of global emissions by 2030.

Canada leads international efforts in support of global climate change and health initiatives by collaborating with the World Health Organization and partners.

Canada has many other internationally focused climate change-related initiatives. Those are described under the SDGs that they most directly support.

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