Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change

Quick Facts

Issue Overview – Carbon Tax

Farmers are stewards of the land, committed to preserving resources for generations to come.

Canadian agriculture occupies a large and important part of the Canadian environment. The farm community is the chief steward and manager of extensive natural resources, owner and architect of much of the landscape and protector of precious soil resources.

In its concern for the environmental fabric of Canada, CFA believes that great importance should be placed on measures of environmental management to ensure maintenance of land resources which provide food for the people of Canada and a large part of the world’s population.

Carbon pricing: Addressing competitiveness challenges

Canadian producers are concerned about maintaining competitiveness as they face the prospect of higher costs for inputs due to carbon pricing. Machinery used for grain drying, livestock heating and cooling and irrigation are critical for mitigating the increasing on-farm impacts of climate change, including summer droughts and heat waves, and a shift towards rainfall during the autumn harvest months.

Unfortunately, while climate impacts increase the need for farmers to rely on these tools, the carbon tax drives up their fuel price. With limited alternatives available, farmers are instead left to eat the cost of producing food for an increasing population in the face of economic and environmental uncertainty. Penalizing farmers for responding to environmental conditions that are out of their control leaves little money left over to invest in these reduction efforts.

Where fuel efficiencies can be made, we believe they should be done so through incentives like the carbon offset protocols and programs dedicated to funding producers for:

CFA also believes that the Federal Government must recognize the value of other ecological goods and services besides just carbon sequestration. These services are delivered through activities such as wetlands stewardship, which provides flood management services; enhancing riparian areas and hillside, which provide soil erosion control; and conservation of ponds and lakes to provide recreational activities. Market mechanisms must be developed to value these services at the national level in order to help maintain these public benefits on private land.

Working towards solutions – Carbon tax

As farmers often have no alternatives to carbon-intensive practices, CFA has been pushing for farmers to have exemption for various fuels and uses such as grain drying and heating/cooling livestock barns.

CFA is in support of Bill C-234, which would add marketable natural gas/propane to the list of qualifying farm fuels to be exempt.

CFA has been heavily involved in the consultation process around the carbon tax, to ensure this program does not place an undue burden on farmers.

CFA continues to work with the government to identify policies that can further aid farmers in the fight against climate change, and has recently joined the Agriculture Carbon Alliance to provide a unified voice on these issues.

CFA recommendations – Carbon Tax

Issue Overview – Greenhouse Gas Pollution Offset Program

In 2021, Canadian farmers were finally beginning to be recognized and rewarded for their environmental efforts through the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Offset Program. Incentivizing and rewarding practices that reduce emissions and sequester carbon will propel the agriculture industry to adopt technologies and techniques which benefit the environment and aid in the fight against climate change.

Working Towards Solutions – Greenhouse Gas Pollution Offset Program

Priority activities for protocol development include livestock manure management, increasing soil carbon, forestation of previously agricultural land, and aerobic composting to name a few.

CFA is working to ensure that the dollar value for credits is high enough to reward existing efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses and incentivize investment in innovations that reduce emissions ahead of the programs expected 2021 implementation.

In December 2020, the Federal Government pledged to invest $631 million over 10 years to boost carbon sequestration in agricultural lands, wetlands and grasslands.

CFA will advocate for this funding to be made available to help farmers adopt offset protocols and generate new income from credits.

CFA Recommendations – Greenhouse Gas Pollution Offset Program

Issue Overview – Clean Fuel Standards

The recently implemented Clean Fuel Standards will allow Canadian farmers to generate credits through two actions:

This program provides an important opportunity to incentivize farmers to partake in activities that will reduce the carbon intensity of fuels.

Working Towards Solutions – Clean Fuel Standards

Much like the carbon tax, Government must work to ensure that any increase in direct and indirect fuel price resulting from the Clean Fuel Standards does not have a disproportionate impact on rural Canadians.

This can be done by ensuring that rural Canada has access to low carbon intensity fuels and that sectors such as transportation have support to reduce their carbon intensity to prevent costs form transferring down to farmers.

Farmers will be eligible to generate credits under two of the three CFS credit categories. CFA will work to ensure that the dollar value for credits is high enough to reward farmers for their emission reduction efforts.

CFA has worked with stakeholders to address concerns about how CFS will verify its Land Use and Biodiversity criteria, which awards credits to facilities who purchase from farms that meet this criteria.

In December 2020, Government pledged a $287 million two-year investment to continue the $5000 rebate incentive for zero-emission vehicles.

These incentives could potentially be used by farms to invest in the electrification needed to generate CFS credits.

CFA recommendations – Clean Fuel Standards

CFA Recommendations – General

Related reading:

Issue brief on Environment and Climate Change

CFA standing policy on Climate Change