International context

Countries who are Party to the UNFCCC meet every year during the Conference of the Parties (COP) to negotiate modalities of limiting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and adapting to the impact of unavoidable changes to the climate.

During the fifteenth session of the COP in 2009, countries that signed the Copenhagen Accord agreed to provide US $100 billion in climate finance for developing countries annually by 2020. Canada’s climate finance helps fulfil this commitment. Canada is working with partners to mobilize climate finance from a wide variety of sources, including the private sector, towards this goal.

In December 2015, at COP 21, Canada and more than 190 other countries reached an ambitious agreement to fight climate change: the Paris Agreement. The agreement aims to ensure all financial investments support low-emission, climate-resilient development. As part of a global effort, developed countries re-affirmed their commitment to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance to assist developing countries in addressing climate change. Countries also agreed to set a new collective goal by 2025, from a floor of USD $100 billion annually.

To fulfil our commitment under the Paris Agreement, Canada is providing international climate finance to support a wide range of climate initiatives. These projects support the transition to green and sustainable investments in developing countries. They respond to adaptation and mitigation needs of the people and communities who are most vulnerable to climate change.

Canada is working with key actors, such as philanthropists and institutional investors, to encourage innovative climate action. We are also ensuring that these investments are consistent with Canada’s development priorities, including empowering women and girls in climate change action. Environment and climate action are most effective when women and girls play an active role. While they are the most vulnerable, women and girls are also powerful agents of change to advance action on climate change, pollution and other environmental concerns.

In 2015, in support of the Paris Agreement, Canada made a historic pledge of $2.65 billion over five years. This investment supports developing countries to take ambitious climate change action, and builds from Canada’s previous commitment under Fast-Start Finance (PDF - 1.7 MB).

This funding supports a wide range of climate initiatives to help developing countries, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable, as well as Small Island Developing States and coastal communities, transition to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient economies.

Solutions to climate change

The international community is responding to climate change by implementing mitigation and adaptation measures.

  • Mitigation measures are efforts to reduce, prevent or sequestrate emissions of GHG. For example, the installation of energy-efficient technologies and clean energy sources help reduce GHG emissions.
  • Adaptation measures are about preparing for the current and future impacts of climate change. It means changing activities and decisions to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and increase resilience for humans, ecosystems and infrastructures. For example, the collection and storage of water when it rains for use in drier seasons help reduce water consumption and increase water use efficiency. Adaptation also involves taking advantage of opportunities from climate change. For example, rising temperatures can increase the length of growing seasons or the varieties of plants that can be grown in different areas.

Canada supports developing countries by financing various mitigation and adaptation initiatives. The two approaches are complementary – the more effective mitigation is implemented now, the less adaptation will be needed in the future. See Initiatives and Programs for more information.

Additional information

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