Ottawa launches public consultations on reducing fertilizer emission

The federal government will launch time-limited consultations in order to get average Canadians’ views on its policies on climate change. These are intended to gather information about the impacts of global food scarcity on food production and their perceptions on these policies.

A survey is available for people to submit their comments online until Aug. 31. Additional comments can be sent to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at [email protected].

The consultation aims to stimulate discussion in relation to Canada’s fertilizer emissions reduction target of cutting emissions by 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030, the AAFC said in a statement.

” The survey states that the feedback will be used to guide the Government of Canada in developing and implementing a strategy to lower emissions and increase nutrient management in Canadian agricultural production.

The goal is to control “direct” (following fertilizer applications) and “indirect” (from fertilizer leached from field and released into the atmosphere as ammonia), the AAFC stated in a discussion document .

The target excludes emissions from fertilizer manufacturing.

According to a 2021 study commissioned by Fertilizer Canada, an industry group, slashing fertilizer use by just 20 percent could cost Canadian farmers more than $48 billion in lost sales due to lower yields by 2030.

The AAFC document noted that agriculture accounted for approximately 10 percent (73 megatonnes of CO2) of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Synthetic fertilizers contributed about 12. 75 megatonnes that year, which is less than 2 percent of the nation’s total emissions.

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Pushback

This latest consultations are the second phase of the Liberal government’s public engagement process since it introduced its Strength Climate Plan in December 2020. The previous consultations, held in March 2021, targeted the agricultural sector, including commodity and grower associations, provinces, and industry organizations.

The sector was concerned on many fronts including its negative effect on crop yields. According to the paper.

” Several agricultural commodity and producer organizations expressed concern that the target to reduce fertilizer emissions could lead to a decline in crop yields,” says the paper.

“They questioned setting a target based on absolute emissions vs emission intensity, which appears to be in direct conflict with the Government of Canada’s export growth target of $75 billion worth of agriculture and agri-food commodities by 2025.”

Several province agricultural ministers denounce the federal government’s plan to reduce fertilizer emissions.

Following a meeting last month between federal, territorial, and provincial agricultural ministers, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario voiced dismay at the Liberals’ plan. They stated in a conference that the reduction of fertilizer emissions would have severe consequences for Canadian farmers.

” We’re concerned about this arbitrary goal,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit stated in a jointly issued statement together with Nate Horner, his Alberta counterpart.

” This crop was the most costly ever planted, after a difficult year in the Prairies,” Horner stated. The world wants Canada to grow its production to solve global food shortages. This .”

must be clearly understood by the Federal government.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson also expressed her disappointment at the federal government’s plan in a tweet on July 22.

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“As farmers try to feed Canada, and the rest of the world with their harvests, we must work together and support them in continuing efforts to grow the food that we need,” she said.

Several Conservative MPs have also opposed the plan. John Barlow (MP for Foothills in Alberta) stated in a that farmers stand up against climate change policies similar to those in many European countries.

“Farmers around the globe are back in opposition. They’re pushing back against the European Union’s farm-to-fork agenda, which is making farming unsustainable, food prices skyrocket, and food insecurity even more of a crisis,” he said.

On July 23, multiple convoy protests were launched across Canada in solidarity with farmers in the Netherlands and other European countries who have been protesting against climate change policies over the past few months. At least 55 convoys rolled out in eight provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

Isaac Teo and Petr Svab contributed to this article.

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Andrew Chen, an Epoch Times reporter located in Toronto.

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