International context

Climate change is widely recognized as the greatest challenge of this generation. Developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, are the hardest hit by climate change. Many have limited capacity to adapt to the consequences of climate change, such as severe weather, drought and flooding.

The fight against climate change is a shared international goal. In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established as an international environmental treaty addressing climate change. At the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15), developed countries committed to jointly mobilize US$100 billion in climate finance annually by 2020, from both private and public sources. A recent report from the OECD shows that international climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries reached US $79.6 billion in 2019.

In December 2015, at COP21, Canada and more than 190 other countries reached an ambitious agreement to fight climate change: the Paris Agreement. The Agreement’s goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 (preferably to 1.5) degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, and aims for all financial investments to support low-emission, climate-resilient development. As part of a global effort, countries also reiterated the US$100 billion goal by 2020, and agreed to set a new collective goal by 2025, from a floor of US$100 billion annually.

In 2015, Canada took action by committing $2.65 billion in international climate finance over five years to support developing countries in their transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. By ensuring developing countries are equipped to respond to climate change, Canada’s international climate finance supports the Paris Agreement goals and allows Canada to play a leadership role in international climate discussions.

These investments build on the successes of Canada’s previous Fast-Start Financing (2010-13) (PDF-1.7 MB). In 2015, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentalso highlighted Climate Action in Goal 13.

As of 2021, Canada’s climate finance investments have supported 128 climate finance projects, which are expected to reduce or avoid over 222 megatonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – the equivalent of removing about 47 million combustion-engine cars from roads for one year – and help at least 5.9 million people adapt to the effects of climate change. Canada’s investments from the $2.65 billion climate finance commitment have also mobilized important climate finance contributions from the private sector.

Solutions to climate change

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

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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