This page provides answers to commonly asked questions surrounding the Canadian Emission Reduction Strategies for Fertilizer and Methane.
Fertilizer Emission Reduction Strategy FAQ
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.
Methane Emission Reduction Strategy FAQ
What is the goal of the methane emission reduction strategy?
The Methane Emission Reduction Strategy aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030, with a cross-sector approach targeting oil and gas, agriculture and waste management.
Will the proposed strategy put a cap agricultural methane emissions?
The Canadian Government is not proposing a mandatory cap on agricultural methane emissions.
What specific emissions does the strategy highlight?
The strategy highlights the two main sources of agricultural methane:
- Methane from enteric fermentation, which is the digestive process in ruminants such as cattle, goats and sheep and accounts for 86% of Canada’s agricultural methane emissions.
- Methane from manure management such as large-scale storage, which accounts for the remaining 14% of Canada’s agricultural methane emissions.
How does Government plan for reaching this 2030 target?
The strategy recognizes that methane emission reductions will be dependent on the right support and other incentives to drive adoption levels among producers, especially given there are typically minimal private benefits (e.g., productivity gains) associated with methane inhibiting practices and technologies.
- Methane-reducing livestock feed additives in beef feedlot and dairy settings
- Methane-reducing manure management approaches, such as liquid manure acidification, liquid-solid separation techniques, manure tank or lagoon covers, and anaerobic digestion for dairy and swine operations
- Production of biogas from manure through anaerobic digesters in large intensive livestock operations such as feedlots or large farms located in close proximity.
- Low methane pastures ,which involve increasing legume and high tannin plants to reduce methane from livestock digestion
The Government will be engaging the sector on these and other emission reduction approaches during consultations on the upcoming Green Agriculture Plan.
Will agricultural producers receive support and incentives to adopt these activities?
Yes, the government plans to support development and uptake of these approaches with support from existing and upcoming funding streams, including:
- $185 million from the Living Labs initiative to accelerate the co-development, testing and adoption of emission reduction activities tailored to specific growing regions in Canada
- $670 million through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to support uptake of emission reducing best practices
- $495.7 million through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program for the development and adoption of technologies such as feed additives, manure storage innovation and anaerobic digestors
Support will also be provided through upcoming incentive and funding streams, such as the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the Federal Carbon Offset Credit System.