Canada has the opportunity to become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on-farms by helping growers become climate-smart. As the federal, provincial and territorial Agriculture Ministers are set to meet next week, they have the opportunity develop a Pan-Canadian framework for the Canadian agriculture sector contributing to the low carbon economy and creating revenue from carbon pricing systems across the country.
A national 4R Climate-Smart Protocol, also known as the Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol, can achieve this. The 4R Climate-Smart Protocol is an easily adaptable, science-based solution for Canada's growers to optimize nitrogen management in their cropping systems and quantifiably demonstrate carbon reductions.
Implementing the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol, which incorporates 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place), increases economic performance for growers while reducing the input costs per unit of crop yield produced.
"Research has shown that if the Protocol was implemented across Western Canada, it would reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 1-2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents annually," said Clyde Graham, Sr. Vice President at Fertilizer Canada. "In addition to these tangible reductions in GHG emissions, a carbon credit would be issued to reward farmers for their environmental stewardship."
Fertilizer Canada commissioned a report by Viresco Solutions to lay out a strategy for national implementation. The report indicates that the institutional platform necessary for a roll-out of this scale is in place - now the coordinated effort to unleash the potential must begin.
4R researchers, experts, 4R practitioners and stakeholders are currently being mobilized across the country to implement a Pan-Canadian 4R Climate-Smart Protocol and update the science in accordance with the most recent nitrous oxide research on 4R practices. In addition to meeting international standards, this protocol has the potential to reduce GHG emissions on millions of acres.
"Fertilizer Canada stands ready to continue to work with the agriculture industry, as well as the Government of Canada on implementing this Canadian-made solution and positioning Canada as a world leader in environmental stewardship on-farms," said Graham.