International Framework

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Climate Change, Canada, International Rules, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


This chapter provides an overview of international law as it applies to climate change, focusing in particular on what it means for Canada. While the international law considered here is not, for the most part, directly enforceable in Canadian courts, it provides important context for domestic law on climate change. International law establishes the set of rules under which Canada is accountable to other states with respect to climate change issues, and in certain cases creates rights and remedies that can provide the basis for legal action. The Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement and related agreements adopted pursuant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”)are at the heart of this international legal framework. However, as described further below, international treaties that Canada has ratified respecting international trade, international investment, human rights and other environmental matters, such as biological diversity and marine protection, also have important implications for the international regulation of climate change issues.