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Catherine McKenna

Founder, Climate and Nature Solutions; Former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Canada

North America Climate Change


Catherine McKenna is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She is also the founder and principal of Climate and Nature Solutions and recently launched Women Leading on Climate at COP26 in Glasgow.

As Canada’s former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change she was a lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement (in particular Article 6 concerning carbon markets) before introducing and successfully defending landmark legislation that established a carbon price across Canada. She also led efforts to phase out coal, reduce plastics in oceans and waterways, and doubled the amount of nature protected in Canada in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

As Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, she made historic investments in public transit and green infrastructure, leveraged private sector investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and led the development of Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment to drive to net-zero emissions by 2050.

While in government, she helped establish the Powering Past Coal Coalition (with Canada, the UK and Bloomberg Philanthropies), the Ministerial on Climate Action (with Canada, the UK and China), the Women Kicking it on Climate Summit and the Nature Champions Summit, was Co-Chair of the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and helped develop the Ocean Plastics Charter adopted at the G7 hosted by Canada in 2018.

Before entering politics, she worked as a competition and trade lawyer at leading firms in Canada and Indonesia and served as a senior negotiator with the United Nations mission in East Timor. She co-founded the charitable organization Level Justice. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Masters degree from the London School of Economics and law degree from McGill. She is called to the Bars of Ontario and New York.

A mother of three who is also a passionate open water swimmer, she is focused on scaling climate and nature solutions to drastically reduce global emissions by 2030 and ensure a sustainable planet for future generations.

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