Following the Supreme Court of Canada ruling Thurs. March 25 affirming the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax, Team Alberta is calling on the Government of Alberta to take a leadership role in creating a ‘Made in Alberta’ climate plan that will ensure the economic sustainability of Alberta farmers.
Team Alberta – a collaboration of Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission – notes that without offsetting measures Canadian farmers will become uncompetitive in international markets due to a carbon tax, which is set to reach $170 per tonne by 2030.
In turn, this threatens the affordability of Canada’s domestic food supply.
Roughly 80 per cent of Alberta’s crop production is exported.
The crop sector has made significant contributions to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the adoption of minimum tillage and precision farming practices.
Western Canadian crop farmers have continually enriched their agricultural soils.
Since the year 2000, Alberta soils have sequestered more carbon than emitted.
Additionally, the Alberta Conservation Cropping Protocol is set to expire at the end of 2021, which removes one of the few programs that acknowledges farmers for their positive contributions to the environment.
Team Alberta insists the provincial government collaborates on the creation of a new Soil Carbon Enhancement Protocol so farmers can be compensated for the carbon they continue to sequester through soil stewardship.
A price on carbon that is embedded in a wide range of crop inputs and the cost of transporting those commodities to market, will put the livelihoods of Alberta farmers in jeopardy.
Currently, the provincial and federal governments have climate plan consultations in progress, and Team Alberta encourages both governments to include agriculture as a vital industry that is part of the climate change solution, while ensuring the economic viability of Canada’s food production.
In January 2020 – in the absence of a federally approved provincial plan – the federal carbon tax backstop was imposed in Alberta.
The tax is currently at $30 per tonne and is expected to climb until it hits $170 tonne in 2030.
Based on Team Alberta calculations, the carbon tax will exceed the cost of the propane and natural gas used to operate grain dryers within the next two years.