Discussion paper on 30% fertilizer emissions reduction a step in the right direction, says Fertilizer Canada

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While there are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding the federal government’s goal of reducing nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer by 30 per cent by 2030, the organization that represents Canada’s fertilizer manufacturers and suppliers is welcoming the release of a discussion paper outlining the government’s plan.

The document, in which the federal government summarizes what it sees as potential paths to hitting the 30 per cent target, was published on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s website late Friday (March 4.)

“First impressions were really quite positive. It’s something we’ve been asking for since the target was initially announced, now a little over a year ago. We’ve been wanting to see some more details, a commitment to consultation, and so we were quite pleased with just getting the document as well as much of what the government has laid out,” says Karen Proud, president and CEO of Fertilizer Canada, in the interview below.

“We’re definitely seeing a bit of shift in tone, or maybe just more precision in approach,” she notes.

While the paper might be seen as a step in the right direction, there are still major questions to be answered.

Listen to Shaun Haney’s conversation with Fertilizer Canada’s Karen Proud for more on what’s in the federal fertilizer emissions reduction discussion paper and the issues that are yet to be resolved, as well as the impact of sanctions on fertilizer imports from Russia and Belarus, and the possibility of a strike by CP Rail workers in the coming weeks:

“I think the main part for us and for everyone is how we’re going to achieve this very ambitious target,” she says, emphasizing the consultation period that runs until June 3 will be a critical time for conversations with the government.

While the paper maintains a focus on reducing absolute emissions, rather than emissions intensity, the report acknowledges another one of the major concerns expressed by agricultural stakeholders — the fact that many on-farm practices that are known to reduce emissions are not accounted for in the government’s current reporting of emissions.

“I think the government has recognized that perhaps it has not given credit to farmers for what they’ve actually been doing and that we need to get the measurement tools right. That was very positive from our perspective,” says Proud.

The consultation period on the discussion paper runs from March 4 to June 3. AAFC has also committed to holding a town hall-style meeting for industry stakeholders in early April.

More to come on RealAgriculture on the fertilizer target and the federal government’s new discussion paper, including a conversation with Dave Carey of the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

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