Government seeks guidance on path towards reducing emissions associated with fertilizer
Canadian farmers have shown that they are good stewards of the land and have long cared for the environment. They are key players in building a healthy environment and a more sustainable agriculture sector in Canada.
Today, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau launched a new round of consultations, beginning with the release of a Discussion Document. These consultations will focus on how we can achieve Canada’s national target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with fertilizers by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. The Document is a key part of consultations with industry to help reach this goal.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) met with producer groups and provincial and territorial partners in 2021 to discuss the emissions reduction target and initiate conversations on how to work together to develop a realistic approach. Stakeholders identified important opportunities and challenges for industry which helped inform a Discussion Document that will stimulate discussion and lead to a shared understanding of how Canada can reach its 30% fertilizer emissions reduction target. The Discussion Document is now available for comment until June 3, 2022.
Fertilizers play a major role in the agriculture sector’s success and have contributed to record harvests in the last decade. They have helped drive increases in Canadian crop yields, grain sales, and exports.
However, nitrous oxide emissions, particularly those associated with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use have also grown significantly. That is why the Government of Canada has set the national fertilizer emissions reduction target, which is part of the commitment to reduce total GHG emissions in Canada by 40-45% by 2030, as outlined in Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, and enshrined in legislation through the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.
The Government is focused on meeting this emissions reduction target through a range of policy measures and approaches, such as working with farmers to encourage broader adoption of new products and implementation of beneficial management practices, resulting in both economic benefits for farmers and environmental benefits for society. An important aspect of Canada’s path toward reaching the target while not compromising crop yields will require ongoing support from industry stakeholders.
Industry-led initiatives like Fertilizer Canada’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship program will also play an important role in promoting sustainable use of fertilizer in crop production and can reduce GHG emissions.
The Government of Canada has already made major investments in new programs to help farmers adopt new beneficial management practices and clean technology which can improve productivity and lower GHG emissions, including through the Agriculture Climate Solutions – Living Labs initiative, the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, and the investments delivered through these programs are designed to leverage existing practices and technologies in order to meet Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
In the coming months, AAFC will be hosting virtual discussions for participants in Canada to continue the conversation on the emission reduction target. AAFC will consult with Canadians, including producers, processors, Indigenous communities, women in agriculture, youth, environmental organizations, small and emerging sectors and other stakeholders and partners to develop a path forward.
Working together is vital to identifying solutions to address the serious environmental challenges at hand. Reducing emissions associated with fertilizer can help contribute to meeting and exceeding Canada's 2030 GHG emissions reduction target and achieving net-zero by 2050.
“Our vision for sustainable agriculture in Canada aligns with the work of producers who are passionate about the health of their land and animals. We are continuing to support the development and adoption of practices and equipment that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sector’s climate change resiliency. With the experience of fertilizer industry representatives, farmers and other pertinent groups, we can work together to identify concrete and innovative steps to help meet our targets.”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Reducing nitrous oxide emissions associated with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use is necessary to contribute to meeting and exceeding Canada's 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and achieving net-zero by 2050. This voluntary reduction target will help position the agriculture sector for the future. The agriculture sector has generated approximately 10% of Canada's total GHG emissions annually since 1990.
In the past year, the Government of Canada has announced $550-million over 10 years to help Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector meet its emission targets and capture new opportunities in the green economy.
Through the Agricultural Climate Solutions initiative, the Government of Canada is investing $200 million under the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to stimulate the immediate adoption of beneficial management practices that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly on farms.
On February 22, 2022, the Government of Canada announced 12 projects under the On-Farm Climate Action Fund. Through individual application intakes, these 12 recipient organizations will redistribute funding to help farmers adopt and implement beneficial management practices, including nitrogen management.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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