Canada’s surprise announcement at COP21!

This second week at COP21 has been very exciting because political discussions are underway: the speeches by the heads of state got the ball rolling, establishing the framework within which negotiations will take place; subsequently, teams of negotiators took over and offered an agreement with the number of options reduced as much as possible. The most recent draft agreement was circulated last Sunday. Now ministers are returning for the final stretch of negotiations with the goal of presenting a final text by Wednesday evening. Four working groups have been established, and all countries are represented in these groups negotiating simultaneously. Believe me, a great deal of tough negotiating is underway! And we’ve had a sure sign that Canada is once again playing a leading role in climate negotiations: the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, asked Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Environment Minister, to act as facilitator for one of these groups.

What’s more Minister McKenna surprised everyone at the information session that the Canadian delegation organizes daily with representatives of civil society attending COP21. She confirmed that Canada supports the adoption of a binding agreement that would aim not to exceed a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius! The crowd was very happy to hear this news demonstrating the new leadership role Canada intends to play on the international stage.

If the Canadian government could identify ambitious targets to be met in 2020 and have a realistic plan to meet them, our country would truly be back at the climate talks. To be continued!

Geneviève Talbot, Advocacy and Research Officer