Canada advanced climate action and remains committed to ambitious global action as United Nations Climate Change Conference concludes

News release

December 16, 2019 – Madrid, Spain

Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and the Government of Canada is taking leadership to tackle it. That means doing the important work at home to cut pollution and create good jobs for Canadians. It also means working with international partners to ensure a sustainable future for the next generation.

Over the past two weeks, Canada’s strong team of negotiators and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, showed leadership on climate action at COP25 and played an active role in negotiations, including on the international rules on carbon markets, under the Paris Agreement (also known as Article 6). While Canada is pleased to see increased ambition and the launch of a new dialogue on oceans and climate in the decision, the negotiations on international markets will continue next year, in the hopes of reaching an ambitious resolution at COP26 in Glasgow.

Indigenous Peoples—particularly those in isolated or northern communities—are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Canada called for rules to promote and protect human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples in activities that would occur under Article 6. We also actively promoted rules for the long-term environmental integrity of carbon markets.

While a consensus was not reached on Article 6 in Madrid, discussions will continue into next year’s negotiations. Canada remains determined to push for ambitious climate action and will participate in further negotiations to define the rules that will mobilize private-sector investment toward the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

While at COP25, Minister Wilkinson reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to ambitious climate action, including exceeding current 2030 targets and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. He also advocated for pricing carbon pollution as a critical tool to cut emissions and drive innovation. This tool will be more effective when adopted by even more countries.

The Minister met with international counterparts, Indigenous leaders, young people, environmental organizations, and industry leaders. At a meeting with European Union Commissioner Frans Timmermans, he discussed the strong environmental partnership between Canada and the EU and their commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Minister Wilkinson met with fellow Canadian Mark Carney and congratulated him on his new position as UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. He also met with German Minister Svenja Schulze, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and other international counterparts and climate leaders, including Small Island Developing States, to continue to strengthen Canada’s relationships on climate action.

Canadian-led initiatives grew at COP25, as Minister Wilkinson welcomed new endorsees of the Ocean Plastics Charter and new members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. The Minister also announced investments through the World Bank to help developing countries design and implement carbon pricing in ways that will work for them.

In Canada and across the world, work to phase out coal-power generation goes hand in hand with work to ensure the transition is a fair one for affected communities and people. While at COP25, Minister Wilkinson participated in a Just Transition event—including New Zealand, Germany, Spain, and Scotland—led by the International Trade Union Confederation and the Canadian Labour Congress.

Global momentum toward climate action continues to accelerate as more citizens advocate for bold climate solutions. Canada is working to ensure that the implementation of the Paris Agreement will cut emissions and create a clean and prosperous future for everyone. Canada was proud to be among the leaders who were advocating for important climate commitments that will reduce pollution, implement nature-based solutions, and create more jobs by accelerating clean growth.


“Science tells us—and our citizens have told us—that we need to not only meet our Paris target but exceed it. Canada came to COP25 in the spirit of compromise and commitment to action. While there were some successes, we are disappointed that the world was not able to agree on the rules for the international carbon markets that would help us all raise our ambition in Madrid. Canada will keep working with our global partners to land on effective rules for international markets at next year’s COP. I am proud of Canada’s contribution to the work at COP25, including our commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada will continue to work towards meeting our Paris Agreement commitments at home and providing support to developing countries as they reduce emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.”

– Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • While at COP25, the number of endorsees of the Ocean Plastics Charter reached 85, with the addition of Chile; Rwanda; Finland; and The Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra. Endorsees commit to moving toward a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics.

  • Six new members joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, committing to accelerating the phase-out of traditional coal power. The Alliance has grown to 97 countries, regional governments, businesses, and other organizations, since Canada and the United Kingdom launched it at COP23, in 2017.

  • At COP25, Canada and other countries also revised the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan to further advance women-led and gender-responsive climate action at national and multilateral levels and agreed to a work plan for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform.

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Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

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