Farmers will be eligible to take part in carbon offset system
By Kate Ayers
Saskatchewan’s recently released Climate Change Strategy does not include a carbon tax and the province’s general farm organization supports the strategy’s principles.
With the Climate Change Strategy, the province is taking steps towards pricing carbon. Notably, agriculture is mainly exempt from this pricing, according to a CTV article on Monday.
Rather, the plan proposes performance standards for facilities that produce over 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in a year. If the facility exceeds this limit, it must pay.
The over-producing companies will be able to buy carbon offsets from farmers or foresters, buy a carbon credit from facilities under-producing emissions or choose to pay into a fund set up by the province, according to the CTV article.
And the Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan (APAS) endorses the province’s climate change plan.
“It’s an opportunity for industry in Saskatchewan, other than agriculture, to take advantage of what agriculture has done and the improvements we’ve made in carbon sequestration,” Todd Lewis, APAS president, said to Farms.com today.
“Hopefully it helps some of our other industries that don’t have those opportunities that provide offsets and agriculture can start filling that gap.”
The offset system will provide incentives for producers to implement practices that sequester carbon and reduce emissions from agricultural soils, wetlands and forests, according to a Monday release from the Government of Saskatchewan.
“It starts to steer the conversation towards recognition of what producers have done. Most farmers and ranchers in the province have done a lot as far as carbon sequestration,” Lewis said to Farms.com.
Farmers can voluntarily take part in the anticipated offset program that would recognize carbon management in agriculture.
The federal government insists that all provinces have a carbon price implemented by next year, according to CTV. However, Sask. officials are prepared to hold their ground.
Indeed, these officials have been opposed to any federally imposed carbon tax for months, according to a CBC article on Monday.
But Ottawa may not accept the Sask. plan since it does not have an economy-wide reduction target.
“The (government is) not touching their transportation, home heating, commercial and industrial energy use at all with this policy,” Andrew Leach, an energy economist at the University of Alberta, said to CTV.
Consultations will take place early next year with stakeholders.
Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Combine_unloads_grain_-_Wheat_harvesting_in_Eastern_Washington_near_the_town_of_Steptoe.jpg