CALGARY - Canada has formally notified the United Nations that it has embraced the Copenhagen Accord and will cut its carbon emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice says it was the federal government's plan all along to align its position with that of the United States.

Prentice has said that the first step towards a binding international treaty on climate change is for countries to outline their own emission-reduction targets before the UN's official deadline of Jan. 31.

He says that although reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent will be challenging, he believes it is attainable.

Prentice says there's still work to do on getting carbon emitters, including China and the United States, to agree to a binding treaty on climate change.

He warns that it took years to translate the now outdated Kyoto Accord into a treaty after it was initially developed.