Ottawa’s war on agriculture must stop

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Appeared in the Calgary Sun, Aug 3, 2022
Ottawa’s war on agriculture must stop

The Trudeau has committed to “net-zero” greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. This ill-advised commitment will make for a poorer less-economically-free Canada today and in the future.

For example, the government’s path to net-zero calls for a 30 per cent reduction in national fertilizer emissions of nitrous oxide (a GHG) by 2030. According to the government’s plan, in Orwellian double-speak, this was “supporting farmers.”

The government re-affirmed that plan at a recent meeting of (distinctly disappointed) provincial agricultural ministers in Saskatchewan. Canada’s ag sector is not happy with the government’s new nitrogen fixation, which—like virtually everything else in the government’s net-zero plan—will bring plenty of pain for no gain on the climate, health, or safety front. The government claims this plan is not about reducing fertilizer use, just nitrous oxide emissions, but the agricultural industry is fairly uniform in calling, well, bull-feces on that claim, arguing there’s no other way to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association has already crunched some numbers and they look ugly for the industry, and by extension, consumers. According to the association, a 30 per cent absolute emission reduction for a farmer with 1,000 acres of canola and 1,000 acres of wheat would reduce their profit by $38,000 to $40,500 annually. And that canola revenues across Western Canada would be reduced by up to $441 million with wheat revenues dropping by $400 million. As a recent article in the Financial Post observed, the nitrous oxide targets could wind up costing the agriculture sector some $10 billion over the next decade.

And all of this comes at a time of soaring inflation and a shortage of various commodities. According to Statistics Canada, the cost of food rose 8.8 per cent from June 2021 to June 2022. And no, it’s not all for a good cause. Canada’s global share of GHG emissions is small enough (in total) that there’s literally nothing Canada can do—not even a national economic shutdown—to reduce GHG emissions enough to produce a detectable improvement in climate stability, environmental or human health and safety. And that’s without accounting for China’s ongoing volcanic-level hemorrhaging of GHG emissions as it dives still further into coal-based electric power. Climate benefits via reduction of agricultural emissions in Canada? Unmeasurable beyond unmeasurable.

For its part, the Trudeau government, fond of labelling others “extremist” for relatively minor social disturbances, is truly the extremist in the room with its “net-zero” GHG emissions plan and subsidiary plans that will devastate nearly every sector or Canada’s economy.

Government needs to zero out the net-zero insanity and find pragmatic ways to balance the needs of Canadians and the needs of the planet, or Canadians will face a world of hurt as they find unaffordable foods at grocery stores they can’t afford to drive to in their vehicles. Long cold winters are never far away in most of Canada. We need a moratorium on green policies before we face those cold winters with unaffordable food and unaffordable energy.

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