The recent avalanche of news about global attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the farm has poked a very frustrated bear.
There are so many challenges and details to be worked out in the government’s plan, that currently everyone involved is still waiting for more information.
At first glance the reduction plans sound wholesome and will stave off some of the more destructive effects of climate change like the increase in average temperatures we are all witnessing here and in Europe.
It seem there has been one crises after another and of course the feeling of anxiety increases when social media allows you to show your feelings and fears in an instant everywhere around the world, in an instant.
It’s as if someone said let’s make everyone in the room unhappy all at once.
Most of what we are going though requires a “man” made solution.
Our economic systems are unnatural relative to how the rest of the world operates, like the way trees and birds, moose and bears have a different set of operating instructions, and we have our own separate instruction book.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) in its 2021 Annual Climate Report “the combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit ( 0.08 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase since 1981 (0.18°C / 0.32°F) has been more than twice that rate.”
These numbers were released in June of this year.
Not to be an alarmist and not a denier or believer in climate change, I have to believe that the direction we are heading is not a good one unless you are looking forward to a warmer climate and growing different crops than you have been; say bananas or coconuts.
The National Centers for Environmental Information, (NCEI) has stated:
“The year culminated as the sixth warmest year on record for the globe with a temperature that was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average. The years 2013–2021 all rank among the ten warmest years on record. The year 2021 was also the 45th consecutive year (since 1977) with global temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average. Of note, the year 2005, which was the first year to set a new global temperature record in the 21st century, currently ties with 2013 as the 10th warmest year on record and 2010 ranks as the ninth warmest on record.”
As you can see, the weather will prove to be more of a challenge than government regulations, political maneuverings, or provincial proclamations.
As it is, the Canadian agricultural industry has been able to stay ahead of environmental and food product disasters by focusing on best practices and common sense science.
Other than lighting a candle out of respect to Mother Nature, there is not much more that can be dome.
If there is a way to reduce any fertilizer emissions, a farmer will figure out how to do it.
Science is wonderful, and government regulations are annoying although helpful, and certainly well intended, but this is clearly a time that government and agriculture have to see themselves sitting in the same boat rowing in the same direction.
Climate change, any way you look at it, and agriculture are not best friends at the moment.
As the weather changes in ways not friendly to agriculture, you can bet the following areas of the agricultural industry such as overall production will be under attack. Warmer temperatures and hotter temperature extremes will result in reduced crop yields, and increased animal loss from heat stress and disease. There will be the increased probability of drought and a general lack of rain. Both those situations will have an impact on production, crops, and with animals.
In addition to harming agricultural production, some climate impacts can have long lasting or irreversible effects. Along coastal areas of the globe, the intrusion of salt water and the inevitable rise of sea levels will take away valuable food producing farmland, while climate change effects on biodiversity will dampen the work of pollinating insects.
In the end, the Canadian government’s recent call to arms over climate change and fertilizer emissions is about the best response they could have to the developing situation, however, like any plan we all have to believe in it.
The driving force behind reducing agriculturally related greenhouse gasses has to be the farming community so all governments should do everything they can can to help them get on with the job.