News Releases

Soil conservation council throws support behind federal climate change initiative

Indian Head, Sask, April 18, 2005:

The farmer-led Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) fully endorses the Government of Canada's launch of the first phase of a major, multi-year initiative to combat the effects of climate change.

The council, which represents soil and water conservation organizations across the country, says Canadian farmers are willing and able to do their part to help Project Green achieve the goals set out in the federal plan: "Moving forward on Climate Change: A Plan for Honouring our Kyoto Commitment."

"The Soil Conservation Council of Canada applauds the federal government for moving forward with a plan to meet its commitments to the Kyoto Accord," says Don McCabe, vice-president of the SCCC and a southern Ontario cash-crop farmer. "We are pleased to see the agriculture industry given an important role in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions through measures that include using soil sinks to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as well as other reduction opportunities."

The Plan, which was unveiled last week by Environment Minister Stéphane Dion, Natural Resources Minister R. John Efford and Industry Minister David L. Emerson, will rely on a co-operative and unified effort of the federal and provincial governments, aboriginal peoples, industry, environmental groups and all Canadians to forward the objectives of the Plan and implement the key elements.

The Plan provides for the Government of Canada to invest $10 billion over the next seven years to reach the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 megatonnes by 2012.

"Canadian producers have clearly demonstrated their commitment to developing environmentally sound and sustainable farming practices," says Scott Wheeler, an SCCC director and southern Alberta producer. "While it has been estimated that 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are related to agriculture, it has also been estimated that improved production practices can represent 20 percent of the solution."

In the federal plan, the agriculture industry is among key players included in two areas of greenhouse gas reductions. Under the Climate Fund, the government plans to purchase up to 115 megatonnes of emission reductions from farmers and other sources, and under the Carbon Sink category, it's estimated agriculture and other resource industries could sequester up to 30 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Canadian producers are up to the challenge," says Jean Louis Daigle, an SCCC director and executive director of the Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre based in New Brunswick. "The Soil Conservation Council of Canada along with its member organizations looks forward to working in partnership with the government to establish the program details and ensure the best possible engagement of farmers in the process."

The Soil Conservation Council of Canada has been actively promoting soil and water conservation programs for 18 years. In the last three years, it has been working closely with producers through its regional Taking Charge Teams to demonstrate a wide range of production and beneficial management practices that not only protect the soil resource, but also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The SCCC Mission: To promote the conservation and enrichment of Canada's soils and related resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

For more information, contact:

Don McCabe, vice-president
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Inwood, ON.
Phone: (519)-844-2482

Scott Wheeler, director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Strathmore, AB
Phone: (403) 934-4265

Jean-Louis Daigle, executive director
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre
DSL St-Andre (Grand Falls), NB
Phone: (506) 475-4040

Doug McKell, executive director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Indian Head, Sask.
Phone: (306) 695-4212