What does Ontario's Commitment to Cap & Trade Mean for Agriculture?

Some call it a tax, others a subsidy, but those selling the carbon cap and trade model for Ontario call it a boon for the economy, agriculture included.

Recently, Ontario’s premier, Kathleen Wynne, announced the province was committed to the establishment of a cap and trade system to “address climate change by limiting sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario.” Ontario’s cap and trade exchange will be linked to Quebec and California’s carbon markets, representing the majority of Canada’s population and a big chunk of industry.

Related: Wynne’s green scheme could deliver massive blow to Ontario and Canada’s economy — Globe and Mail

How will a cap and trade carbon exchange work, and what is agriculture’s role in it? In an effort to answer those questions, I went to Don McCabe, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). OFA supports the cap and trade system, McCabe says, and sees a way for farmers to not only play a role in achieving Ontario’s environmental goals, but also to divert some money back to farmers. And that’s a key point, as I ask him, in the interview below, if the price of fuel and fertilizer are likely to climb under a cap and trade system.

As for what, exactly, farmers can do to participate, McCabe suggests we look to Alberta and Western Canada, for examples of how farmers’ land management adaptations are being recognized under a carbon sequestration system. The trick here, of course, is that the bulk of carbon credits generated in Western Canada come from the adoption of zero-till. How many of Ontario’s producers will be able to participate? That discussion, here.

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