Minister Catherine McKenna

Minister Catherine McKenna
Minister McKenna speaking at the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, Canada. Photo source: UN Environment Programme

Under Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna’s, leadership, Canada has become a global leader in reducing short-lived climate pollutant (SLCPs) emissions both domestically and through international efforts.

Since Minister McKenna’s election in 2015, Canada has decreased its black carbon emissions by 18% from 2013 levels, and is projected to reduce them by 30% by 2030. Methane emissions are also projected to decrease by 16% from 2012 by 2025. These reductions can be attributed to regulations on upstream oil and gas methane that Ms. McKenna’s ministry published in May 2017.

Minister McKenna worked tirelessly on the global stage advocating for an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), refrigerants and coolants with a global warming potential 100’s to 1000’s times that of carbon dioxide. Her efforts contributed to the adoption of the Kigali Amendment in 2016, which was subsequently ratified in 2017 and comes into force on January 1, 2019. Ratifying the Kigali Amendment is one of the most significant climate actions the world has taken this century.

Minister McKenna has also been a global champion for the Powering Past Coal Alliance, formed by Canada and the United Kingdom in 2017. The Alliance supports the phase-out of traditional coal power. The number of Alliance members has since grown to over 60.

In 2017 Canada ratified the Gothenburg Protocol, which includes emission reduction commitments for black carbon as a component of particulate matter. The Gothenburg Protocol, is the first legally binding instrument to include a focus on short-lived climate pollutants.

As hosts of the Global Methane Forum in Toronto in 2018, Canada led discussions to advance methane mitigation through better policy, science, and technology innovation. Canada also participates on the Artic Council and it chairs a key negotiating body under the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). Minister McKenna has also improved bilateral relationships to reduce SLCP emissions in countries like Mexico and Chile.

Minister McKenna’s work has steered Canada toward SLCP mitigation as a priority for reducing near term climate warming, as well as a means of supporting the 2030 sustainable development agenda. These actions are helping Canada’s objective to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement while achieving benefits to air quality and human health.