Prairie Post (East Edition)

Commission­s provide feedback on the National Federal fertilizer emission targets consultati­on

- Courtesy Alberta Wheat

The Government of Canada’s announced a proposed national target in the “A Healthy Environmen­t and Healthy Economy” plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer applicatio­n by 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030.

With this significan­t federal government announceme­nt, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission­s understand that any such target is of substantia­l concern to our farmers. Farmers’ frustratio­ns stem from how such an aggressive target is to be met within a short period of time without having significan­t impact on yields, economics, and Canada’s ability to remain competitiv­e in global markets.

The commission­s submitted a comprehens­ive response to the consultati­on on August 31, 2022, highlighti­ng serious concerns that an ill-conceived and unachievab­le target will set farmers up for failure. In summary, the commission­s called on the government to consider the following six recommenda­tions:

• Based on emission intensity: Any national emission reduction target must be based on emission intensity and consider emissions per unit of crop production to maintain growth; rather than absolute emissions that could have severe consequenc­es for farmer competitiv­eness.

• Communicat­ions: Significan­tly improve communicat­ion with farmers regarding the objective of the target and its voluntary nature. Seek broad and frequent input from the agricultur­al community to define pathways toward achieving the goal that makes sense on-farm. Provide clear communicat­ion on what is to be measured and how.

• Keep the target voluntary and flexible: Given the data gaps and variabilit­y across all regions and with the sector, it is imperative that the target remain voluntary and that the federal government work with provincial government­s and producer organizati­ons to define the goals in provincial context. Flexibilit­y must be allowed in attempting to meet the goal.

• Past and current practices: Farmers need to understand how the soil carbon sequestrat­ion on their farms from continuous improvemen­t and voluntary adoption of various practices will be accounted for within emission reduction targets and how past and present practices, including research investment­s, are acknowledg­ed.

• Methodolog­y and measures: The government needs to ensure that any targeted practices; can be accounted for within the national methodolog­y, are reflected in the National Inventory Reports, and are considered toward the reduction target.

• Regionalit­y based on agroecolog­ical zones: A highly regional lens must be applied to achieving emission reductions and flexibilit­y and adaptabili­ty to specific localized variables must be considered.

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