Prairie governments unhappy with federal fertilizer emissions reduction target

Prairie governments unhappy with federal fertilizer emissions reduction target
Jul 25, 2022

The federal government “unilaterally” imposed this target, ministers say

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Provincial governments in western Canada are unhappy with how the federal government is handling fertilizer emissions reduction targets.

Last week, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture reached a new partnership agreement to replace the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The new deal includes a commitment to reduce emissions from fertilizer.

The federal government’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizers use by 30 per cent by 2030.

Provincial and territorial ministers wanted to discuss this topic with federal representatives but weren’t provided an opportunity to do so.

“Provinces pushed the federal government to discuss this important topic, but were disappointed to learn that the target is already set,” a July 22 joint statement from Alberta and Saskatchewan says. “The commitment to future consultations are only to determine how to meet the target that Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Bibeau have already unilaterally imposed on this industry, not to consult on what is achievable or attainable.”

Ontario’s minister of agriculture also criticized the federal government over the fertilizer issue.

Federal and provincial governments need to be on the same page for farmers to succeed, Lisa Thompson said.

“As our farmers work to feed Canada and the world, we need to work with them and support their ongoing efforts to grow and produce the food we need. The federal government needs to be true partners, rather than simply imposing targets that make it harder.”

A report earlier in the year identified the effects cutting fertilizer use could have on the Canadian ag sector.

An MNP report commissioned by Fertilizer Canada indicated reducing fertilizer use by about 30 per cent by 2030 could cost Canadian farmers nearly $48 billion in farm income between 2023 and 2030.

Farmers elsewhere are protesting climate targets brought on by their own governments.

In Holland, for example, farmers are concerned after the Dutch government set targets to reduce nitrogen emissions in some areas by 70 per cent by 2030. This could also lead to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of Dutch livestock.

“If you come for us and our families, you come at a farmer’s soul,” said Dutch farmer Jeroen van Maanen, The Guardian reported. “We’ve proposed all kinds of solutions but we are ignored. And finally, they come up with a plan for a reduction in livestock. No other sector has reduced nitrogen in the last 30 years [as much as] we have. This is why there’s a lot of emotion and pain.”

Farmers in Italy, Spain and Poland have protested in their home countries in support of Dutch producers.

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