01/29/2016 12:52 EST | Updated 01/29/2017 05:12 EST

Catherine McKenna, Provincial Environment Ministers Talk Carbon-Cutting Strategies

OTTAWA — Canada's environment ministers are meeting today in Ottawa in an effort to negotiate a national carbon-cutting strategy to meet the country's ambitious international targets.

Provincial and territorial ministers arrived Thursday for talks with federal counterpart Catherine McKenna, in advance of a full-blown first ministers conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tentatively set for the first week of March.

catherine mckenna

Catherine McKenna delivers opening remarks at a meeting with her provincial counterparts. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

It's the first such meeting on the climate file in almost a decade, a period during which provinces have each pursued their own climate policies in the absence of an over-arching national plan.

At a UN-sponsored summit last month in Paris, the new Liberal government — in consultation with the provinces — agreed with nearly 200 countries to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius by mid-century.

Canada, one of the highest per-capita emitters in the world, is not currently on track to meet its existing targets for GHG reductions — and experts say those targets must be lowered if Canada is to meet the two-degree warming threshold.

The Liberals have promised to create a national price on carbon and some of the toughest negotiations among the ministers appear likely to revolve around finding a floor price on carbon to which all provinces can agree.

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