Our Government recognizes that climate change is a serious environmental challenge and has committed to tackle this issue through the Turning the Corner plan, which was introduced on April 26, 2007. This plan aims to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution by implementing measures such as the establishment of a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system to provide incentives for Canadians to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This system presents several project opportunities in many sectors, including the agricultural sector that could benefit rural areas of Canada, including Dufferin-Caledon, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Budget 2008 provides $66 million over two years to set up the regulatory framework for industrial air emissions. This money has been made available to establish regulations targeting the industrial sectors and falls under Bill C-50 (An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2021 and to enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget). The Bill received Royal Assent on June 18, 2008.
Our Government’s plan is to use market instruments for the reduction of pollutants by using a trading system that will be available to all industries across Canada for the reduction of their greenhouse gases and will complement the trading system created by the private sector. Canada will have a domestic system that will be able to include other sectors (i.e. agriculture) that won’t be targeted by regulations to also contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. I had the pleasure of participating in one of the meetings of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that was reviewing our Government’s plan and had the opportunity to ask Environment Canada officials on what the plan can offer to the agricultural sector.
There are several types of potential project types in the agricultural sector, which include: tillage practices, nutrient management, innovative feeding of livestock, manure storage/spreading. Manure management can be used as a typical example from this sector. For the various emissions coming from the exposed manure that are released into the atmosphere, there are biodigesters able to reduce those emissions.
Our Government will first establish a protocol to identify a way or methodology to account for reduction of the greenhouse gases. For those farmers who contribute or become recognized for the diminution or reduction of greenhouse gases, they will be able to apply, have their project approved, and credits will be issued to them.
Those credits, in turn, are tradeable, bankable, and they can be used in the trading system. An industry that can’t meet its target will have the opportunity to purchase those credits and will, therefore, have the ability to meet compliance for the regulation. This approach will attract sectors like the agricultural sector that aren’t currently targeted by the regulations to also do their part to reduce greenhouse gases.
The agricultural sector will be informed of this system through sessions with groups, such as agricultural federations and communities interested in becoming involved in the offset system. Information will also be available on the internet to inform Canadians and farming communities of the different offsets. Part of the $66 million allotted in Budget 2008 will be used for these measures.
Our Government is committed to taking action on the environment through innovative initiatives that allow our economy and many industries, including agriculture, to continue to grow. The establishment of a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system, is just one part of our plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. Canadians and our many industries are ready to face the challenge of climate change and win it.