- The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a key milestone for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and for advancing global climate ambition. It is scheduled to take place on November 1-12, 2021, in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Points to register
- We are working with the U.K., as President of COP26, and other international partners in the lead up to COP26 to maintain momentum behind global climate action.
- Canada recognizes the urgent need to accelerate global climate action. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement the international community needs to significantly scale up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We must also strengthen our ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change already being experienced around the world.
- The U.K., as G7 and COP26 President, and Italy, as G20 President and host of Pre-COP, have laid out ambitious environmental priorities that will build momentum for ambitious outcomes at COP26. To date the level of ambition and degree of agreement around the G7 and G20 tables has been encouraging.
- COP26 will culminate a critical year for raising global climate ambition, and for countries, including Canada, to come forward with enhanced climate commitments.
- To do our part in raising global climate ambition, Canada is preparing to submit an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by COP26.
- This updated NDC will reflect our ambitious new emissions reduction target of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, as announced by the Prime Minister at the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021, as well as our commitment to reach net-zero by 2050.
- Canada remains committed to mobilizing climate finance towards the collective US$100B annual goal. Canada has delivered on its $2.65 billion climate finance pledge to developing countries over the past five years. But we also recognize that more reaources are needed to support the transition to low-emission, climate resilient econmomies; that is why, as noted in Budget 2021, Canada intends to build on its ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada with ambitious financial commitments to help developing countries to combat climate change and biodiversity loss in the coming months leading up to COP26 as well as the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15.
- Canada’s international engagement in the lead-up to, and at, COP26 will continue to be framed around three strategic objectives that align with our domestic priorities and commitments:
- Promoting the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement;
- Advancing clean growth and the transition to a low carbon economy; and,
- Strengthening resilience and linkages with biodiversity, oceans, and nature.
- COP26 also represents a key moment to focus on the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada will use this opportunity to encourage countries to build back better and pursue recovery measures consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Originally set to take place in 2020, COP26 was postponed by one year due to the COVID19 pandemic. Despite ongoing uncertainties, the U.K., as COP26 President, continues to work on the basis of hosting a full, physical COP26 from November 1 to November 12, 2021. However, in recognition of existing challenges, including international travel restrictions, and the global availability of vaccines, the U.K. is putting in place contingencies and considering how it could extend participation in the conference through virtual means.
- Regardless of the logistical challenges created by the pandemic, COP26 remains one of the most significant climate meetings since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. Global expectations are high for all countries to come forward this year with new concrete commitments to enhance their domestic and international climate action in support of the core objectives of the Paris Agreement – on mitigation, adaptation and climate finance. This includes:
- New or enhanced greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets (NDCs) for 2030;
- Plans and strategies to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050; and,
- New international climate finance commitments to support developing countries.
- Climate finance specifically will be a key issue at COP26, linking strongly with ambition and trust among developed and developing countries. There will be pressure on donor countries to demonstrate that climate finance will continue to flow at scale after 2020, including to meet the US$100B goal through 2025 as agreed to at COP21. The U.K. has announced a doubling of its climate finance envelope, and has asked countries, including Canada, to follow suit.
- COP26 is also seen as a key opportunity to foster discussions with all other actors, including civil society and the private and financial sectors who hold many of the levers to accelerate the transition to low-carbon economies. Given the current global pandemic, global efforts for a green recovery will also form a key, overarching theme of COP26 discussions.
- There is also strong pressure for COP26 to finalize outstanding negotiations on the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines (the Paris ‘Rulebook”), including on internationally traded mitigation outcomes under Article 6, and reporting guidelines under the Enhanced Transparency Framework.
- As COP26 President, the U.K. is placing a high priority on raising global climate ambition, particularly in relation to mitigation, adaptation and climate finance. To this end, the U.K. is planning to centre COP26 around five “campaigns” on topics most in need of international coordination: (1) Green/Sustainable Finance; (2) Energy Transition; (3) Clean Transportation; (4) Nature; and, (5) Adaptation and Resilience.
- In the lead-up to COP26, there are a series of climate-focused events in 2021 that provide an opportunity to demonstrate climate leadership and galvanize ambition:
- Minister Wilkinson co-convened a fifth edition of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MOCA) on March 23. This was the first Ministerial-level meeting on climate change of 2021 helping to set the stage for continued momentum on climate ambition.
- On April 22 and 23, Canada participated in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate that included both Leader- and Ministerial-level segments focused on raising climate ambition for both mitigation and adaptation, mobilizing finance, the economic benefits of a net-zero transition, sub-national action, nature-based solutions, and climate security.
- The UK will host the G7 Climate and Environment Ministers (May) and the G7 Leaders Summit (June)
- Italy will host the G20 Climate and Environment Ministers (July) and G20 Leaders Summit (October)
- Italy will host Pre-COP in the fall, which is intended to be a high-profile opportunity for non-state actors, particularly youth, to call for greater climate action ahead of COP26.
- China will host the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which will see Parties adopt a new post-2020 biodiversity framework intended to address the critical loss of biodiversity. While important in its own right, this conference will also bring the need for ambitious climate action into sharp focus by highlighting the consequences of inaction for biodiversity preservation.
Canada/United States Environmental Cooperation
- On February 23, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden announced the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership (Roadmap) to relaunch cooperation on a number of important files including on climate and the environment. Under the Roadmap, the Canada-U.S. High Level Dialogue on Climate Ambition (Dialogue) was created to establish a binational forum to discuss policy alignment and solutions to cut emissions in key sectors and help advance existing work. The first phase of the Dialogue was focused on information sharing to support increased ambition ahead of the U.S. Climate Summit which was held April 22-23, 2021.
Points to register
Roadmap and dialogue
- There is significant alignment between Canada and the U.S. on how to take ambitious and meaningful steps forward on tackling climate change and protecting the environment, and we welcome our renewed partnership with the U.S.
- We are working with the U.S. to advance meaningful and concrete bilateral actions through the Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Action, which builds on our long history of collaboration and supports the Roadmap announced by the Prime Minister and President Biden.
- The Dialogue is the first step in developing joint climate action to raise the scale and speed of climate ambition in both countries, but also to lead on the international stage and encourage other countries to increase their climate ambition.
- There is strong binational interest in advancing cooperation in a number of sectors including by cutting methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, decarbonizing our transportation and electricity sectors, and nature-based solutions.
- The near-term focus of cooperation under the Dialogue has been on getting ready for the U.S. Climate Summit on April 22 where Canada and the U.S. both announced 2030 targets.
- Canada will continue to engage with the U.S. on our shared priority areas to support policy alignment where relevant to support our newly announced targets.
- The Dialogue marks the renewal of a longstanding tradition of positive collaboration between Canada and the U.S. on climate, as well as many transboundary issues. Our cooperation can serve as a model for global leadership in the fight against climate change.
- Canada and the U.S. have a long history of partnership in tackling environmental issues and making progress toward a more sustainable future.
- In 1909 Canada and the U.S. signed their first environmental agreement, the Boundary Waters Treaty. For more than a century we have worked together to keep our waters clean by mitigating and preventing water pollution, and protecting watersheds, migratory fisheries and their habitats.
- In 1961 we signed the Columbia River Treaty, which resulted in the building of dams along the Columbia River to prevent major floods and protect communities. These dams also generate clean, renewable hydropower that we sell to the U.S.
- In 1991, when transboundary air pollution was causing acid rain, we joined forces to reduce harmful pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide through the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement.
- In 2000, when the ozone layer was depleting, we added the Ozone Annex to the Air Quality Agreement, which committed both our countries to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which are major components of smog.
- We recently successfully negotiated the CUSMA. Canada’s trade position was and is to ensure agreements recognize the importance of environmental protection in order to preserve sustainable growth. Canada fervently defended this position, and we not only safeguarded but advanced environmental protection as a result of the new free-trade negotiations through the inclusion of a new chapter on the environment.
- We also finalized the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration in 2020. By securing critical minerals supply chains we are helping our manufacturing sectors lead the way in clean technology development like deploying electric cars and expanding our clean energy grid.
- This year Canada and the U.S. are exploring opportunities to renew a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) first signed in 1998 to promote bilateral cooperation between the Parks Canada Agency and the U.S. National Park Service. The MoU will facilitate continued collaboration to advance initiatives of mutual interest related to the protection, management, and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, including efforts to expand transboundary networks and alliances, improve visitor use management and sustainable tourism, strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples, and enhance protected areas connectivity.
- And next year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a landmark agreement, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Great Lakes are vital to the wellbeing of millions of Canadians and Americans. They contain close to 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, they sustain 4,000 species of plants and animals, they provide drinking water for tens of millions of people and they are the basis for billions of dollars of economic activity. For near on fifty years we have been partners in restoring and protecting the Great Lakes to ensure they can continue to sustain communities and wildlife on both sides of the border.
- Minister Wilkinson and Special Envoy Kerry held their second bilateral meeting of the Dialogue on Climate Ambition on April 12, 2021. They took stock of each country’s progress toward increasing the scope and scale of climate action and reiterated their commitment to work in areas of importance, namely reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, as well as adaptation, sustainable finance, nature-based solutions, and smart agriculture.
- A third Ministerial Dialogue is expected to take place in September 2021 to monitor progress which is expected to focus on policy alignment in key areas such as methane emissions as well as the transportation and electricity sectors.
- Canada is strongly advocating that consideration be given to harmonization to methane reporting requirements and commitments to ambitious methane regulatory standards to achieve significant reductions from oil and gas by 2030.
- Canada and the U.S. are committed to setting strict emission standards for light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. To this effect Canada is seeking potential stringency standards for the post-2022 and 2025 periods.
- Canada and the U.S. are taking a collaborative approach to policy and standard setting to move North America toward a carbon-free electricity sector, including shared technical exchanges. Canada’s phase-out of coal by 2030 and its interest in providing clean hydro to the U.S. will support the U.S. transition to clean electricity.
- Canada and the U.S. are seeking to advance nature-based solutions and partner on protected areas and Indigenous-led conservation. Like Canada, the U.S. is supporting the 30x30 target for protected areas.
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