Government wants advice on how to reduce fertilizer emissions

Government wants advice on how to reduce fertilizer emissions
Mar 07, 2022

It’s not easy being green, and the Federal Government of Canada is looking for help in determining the best path to reduce fertilizer emissions.

By Andrew Joseph,

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food, led by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, has released a Discussion Document to launch a new round of discussions involving fertilizer emissions and how to reduce them.

The consultations will focus on how to achieve Canada’s national target of reducing absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with fertilizers by 30 percent of the 2020 levels by the year 2030.

The Discussion Document is now available for comment until June 3, 2022.

The Government of Canada has set the national fertilizer emissions reduction target—a part of the commitment to reduce total GHG emissions in Canada by 40-45 percent by 2030, as outlined in Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, via the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

According to the federal government, the agriculture sector has, since 1990, generated approximately 10 percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions. It believes that 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.

To meet this emissions reduction target through a range of policy measures and approaches, it is seeking input from farmers to establish a wider range of adoption of new products, with the end result—hopefully—providing economic benefits for farmers and environmental benefits for society with reduced GHG.

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) government department will host, over the ensuing months, virtual discussions for participants in Canada to continue the conversation on the emission reduction target. It 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.

Said The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food: “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.”

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.

Via the Agricultural Climate Solutions initiative, the federal government 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, 12 projects under the On-Farm Climate Action Fund were announced. Through individual application intakes, these 12 recipient organizations will redistribute funding to help farmers adopt and implement beneficial management practices, including nitrogen management.