Six years ago, the world came together to sign onto the Paris Agreement—an historic agreement amongst nations to ambitiously fight climate change and adapt to its impacts. The science says that in order to keep the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach and avert the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to do more, and on a faster timeline. That is why over 190 countries will gather in Glasgow for COP26 – UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 this year and why Canada has significantly increased its climate targets and climate actions since the coming into force of the Paris Agreement.
With less than a month until COP26, Canada joined over 40 countries this week in Milan, Italy for Pre-COP – UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021—the final formal ministerial meeting to prepare for November’s global summit. Countries from around the world discussed the need and the mechanisms to keep the goal of 1.5°C within reach, fully implement the Paris Agreement, and help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“The past year and a half has been incredibly challenging for the world: a global pandemic during a climate crisis. As with the pandemic, the science and the solutions to fight climate change are clear, and Canadians expect their leaders to act. Since 2015, the government hasn’t wasted any time in its fight against climate change, and with COP26 in Glasgow less than a month away, we won’t stop now,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
“This week’s Pre-COP meeting was a valuable opportunity for Canada to participate in meaningful face-to-face discussions and work with partners to build momentum and set the conditions needed for successful outcomes in Glasgow.”
Canada’s approach to fighting climate change, which is underpinned by concrete actions, such as accelerating the phase-out of coal-fired electricity, adopting one of the most ambitious carbon pricing systems in the world, and enshrining its climate targets into law, including net zero by 2050, continues to be part of international best practices as the world looks to share knowledge and effective policies to combat climate change.
In July 2021, Minister Wilkinson and German State Secretary, Jochen Flasbarth, accepted an invitation from the President-designate of COP, Alok Sharma, to develop a plan in the lead-up to COP26 that will ensure developed countries deliver on their commitment to mobilize $100 billion for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Since then, the two co-leads have been working on this crucial task and held a series of meetings to this end with donor and developing countries throughout Pre-COP to support this effort.
At Pre-COP, Minister Wilkinson also met with US Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry, where they discussed their efforts to increase the scope and scale of climate action in their respective countries and abroad.
The Youth4Climate summit also took place in Milan from September 28 to 30, where Minister Wilkinson implored youth delegates to continue making their voices heard and to push their governments to go further and faster in the fight against climate change. The summit had almost 400 delegates present, including youth representing Canada, and it served as a basis for a dialogue between the youth delegates and ministers at Pre-COP.
During the summit, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, who will be hosting COP26, noted that despite the severity of the climate crisis, rapid change is still possible and COP26 can and should mark the beginning of the end of climate change. Canada leaves this week’s Pre-COP meeting with a renewed commitment to keep playing a leadership role in delivering the ambitious climate action that the world wants, and needs.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to submit national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, called nationally determined contributions (NDCs), every five years. Each successive NDC is required to be more ambitious than the previous one. The Government of Canada’s existing climate actions put Canada on a path to exceed its previous target and allowed the government to set an ambitious new target of 40-45% reductions below 2005 levels by 2030 earlier this year.
Recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows that if the G20 adopted even half of the incremental carbon pricing policies that Canada has committed to, they would nearly triple their emissions reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement.
At the G7 World Leaders’ Summit in June 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would double its climate finance pledge, from $2.65 billion to $5.3 billion.