Three years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark warning to the global community, concluding that many of the catastrophic impacts previously associated with two degrees Celsius of warming may occur much earlier, at only 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
To jointly address climate change and demonstrate global leadership on the climate crisis, Canada and the United States have joined to form a high-level dialogue. This dialogue will elevate and advance long-standing cooperation between the two countries that share many of the same risks and can benefit from many of the same opportunities.
The dialogue was launched by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at their bilateral meeting on February 23 and will be led on the United States side by Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry and on the Canadian side by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson. The dialogue will have three work streams:
- Increasing Shared Ambition. The two countries will work on cooperative action that will allow both countries to enhance their respective Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement with the goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 ºC and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Recalling their partnership in developing long-term strategies collaboratively in 2016, the countries will cooperate on the development of specific strategies for achieving the long-term 2050 target, including attention to short-lived climate pollutants that must be addressed to keep 1.5 ºC within reach. These strategies will focus on both averting the climate crisis and seizing the economic opportunity of transitioning to an equitable low carbon economy.
- Policy and Regulatory Alignment. As a result of shared markets, overlapping supply chains, and neighboring terrestrial and marine territories, the policies and regulations of the United States and Canada are inextricably linked. As a result, policy decisions in one country can materially affect emissions, economic activity, competitiveness, and natural resources in another. Therefore, this work stream will focus on aligning on policy solutions and regulatory approaches to address greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts, while stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, and improving public health.
- Climate Adaptation, Resilience and Security. Climate change poses unprecedented risks to the United States and Canada, and in particular to low-income communities, Indigenous populations, and communities of color. The United States and Canada will work together to build resilience to climate impacts at a national level and a local level, prioritizing the needs of those that are most vulnerable to climate change. This will include cooperation on policies and investments to better measure and manage land carbon sinks and improve their resilience to wildfire, floods, and other climate impacts.
Recognizing the importance of accelerating climate efforts at all levels, the United States and Canada will facilitate engagement between U.S. and Canadian subnational and non-state actors to consider additional opportunities for innovative subnational efforts that can support and augment federal clean energy and climate policies.
This dialogue will meet semi-annually at the Chair level, with working level meetings scheduled as needed, and will present initial outcomes no later than the second meeting in 2021. The initial meeting of the Dialogue will occur between March 15 and April 1, with the second occurring at the beginning of September. Participants of the dialogue will come from agencies of the two governments as relevant for the stated objectives of the work.