CFA encouraged by National Round Table on the Environment and Economy report
OTTAWA -- The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is encouraged by the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy’s (NRTEE) analysis of Canada’s potential climate change policy direction and the prospect of harmonization with the United States.
The report, “Parallel Paths: Canada-U.S. Climate Policy Choices,” examines the creation of a regulated cap-and-trade system that would cover all energy and process emissions. In particular, the report highlights that agriculture should not be included as a regulated and capped industry.
Emissions from agriculture are caused by biological processes, which don’t allow for accurate measuring and practical accounting of emission levels. As well, agriculture represents one of few large-area land options that may provide for carbon offsets, such as soil sequestration.
“The NRTEE has correctly recognized that the nature of agricultural emissions make it a difficult sector to include directly within cap-and-trade,” said Ron Bonnett, CFA President. “It shows an understanding that farmers are far more valuable outside of the regulated system as they can provide voluntary emission reductions that can be purchased by regulated emitters.”
The sale of voluntary emission reductions —carbon offsets—allow final emitters to meet their emission reduction targets. “Carbon offsets from agriculture allow regulated sectors the ability to access a potentially lower-cost source of reductions, and are an essential tool to reduce the overall costs of any cap-and-trade policy,” said Bonnett.
Canadian farmers are global leaders in carbon mitigation and sequestration through a variety of practices, including the implementation no-till farming to sequester carbon and improved manure management practices. “The agriculture practices we have developed have been established as real and verifiable sources of carbon offsets in the Alberta carbon market,” said Bonnett. “They can be easily applied through the national system proposed by NRTEE if the right resources and science are put in place”.
As identified in the NRTEE report, the United States has identified their agriculture sector as an important offset provider in any potential cap-and-trade system and is true harmonization were to happen, Canada should work with their farmers in the same way. “Canadian agriculture is an innovative sector and in addition to providing safe, quality food, we can provide a variety of other essential benefits to Canadians—climate change mitigation is a prime example of such benefits,” said Bonnett.