The first green revolution of the mid-1900s included the discovery and advancement of fertilizer and crop protection that led to such incredible gains in food production that it spurred a population explosion and massive growth of cities.
The next green revolution needs to be just as significant, but with a different end result: more food, yes, but produced with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s the conclusion of a new report released by RBC Royal Bank, entitled “The Next Green Revolution: How Canada can produce more food and fewer emissions.”
John Stackhouse, senior vice president for RBC Royal Bank and former editor of The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business section, says that goal will require an acceleration of many of the practices already in place, but also scaling of existing technology, and discovering and building new tech.
Stackhouse says the study, written in conjunction with the BCG Centre for Canada’s Future and Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, outlines four key areas that will require advancement to reach the goal of more food with fewer emissions. Regenerative agriculture, ag tech, livestock management, and fertilizer advancements will all need attention, the report says.
“We think it’s important to think through the opportunities that this coming climate revolution, if I can call it that, presents for agriculture. First of all, it should allow us and help us move up the value chain… And we think Canada needs to become much bolder in labeling this, the more we can produce low emission food products and commodities for the world, the higher value we will get for that as an exporting nation,” Stackhouse says.
Looking at where Canada is and where we need to go is daunting, considering the scale of investment required to achieve this green revolution.
“We need to attract and generate $2 trillion of capital over the next 25 years to get us to net zero. Now, that’s two to three per cent of GDP. So it’s manageable. It’s an enormous amount,” he says. “This investment capital we generate ourselves through our savings, but we can also attract it from the world. So how do we attract that capital and keep that capital here? Well, we have to have competitive tax regimes, we have to have competitive regulatory regimes, and we have to be eagle eyed to what our key competitors led by the the United States are doing.”
Listen below (or download for later) to the full discussion with John Stackhouse: