What is the goal of the fertilizer emission reduction strategy?
The fertilizer emission reduction strategy aims to reduce fertilizer nitrous oxide emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
Will the proposed strategy put a cap on fertilizer use?
The Canadian Government is not proposing a mandatory reduction in fertilizer use.
What specific emissions does the strategy target?
The strategy is specifically targeting Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions arising from fertilizer use in Canadian agriculture. Nitrous oxide (N2O), a strong greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 265 to 298 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period, is produced by the application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer in particular.
The emissions reduction target includes direct (from fertilizer application) and indirect (from ammonia released into the atmosphere as a result of nitrogen leaching in fields) emissions from fertilizer application on-farm.
How does Government plan on reaching this 2030 target?
By increasing support for a number of existing approaches, including:
- Increased use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers and inhibitors
- Broader use of cover cropping and pulse crops, where applicable
- Transitioning from fall to spring applied fertilizer and increasing split application
- Greater adoption of precision agriculture techniques
- Nutrient management planning and funding for precision nutrient application technologies
What is the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s position on the strategy?
- The strategy must not lead to regulations or policies that result in a mandatory reduction in fertilizer use. A mandatory cap would pose extreme risk to food security at a time when Canadian agricultural products are needed more than ever to feed the world.
- The strategy must support producers in the uptake of best management practices and technologies through a funding and incentive-based approach. This includes incentives such as greenhouse gas offset credits for producers who adopt best management practices such as 4R Nutrient Stewardship.
- The strategy must further improve Canada’s methodology for measuring emissions so that existing on-farm efforts are fully recognized.
- Most critically, the Canadian Government must form a working group between Environment and Climate Change Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and agricultural producers to realize these priorities, improve communication and engage producers in discussions on any future targets from the outset.