SASKATOON, SK—Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, would exempt, from Canada’s carbon levy, propane and natural gas used by farmers for grain drying. The Bill is in its third reading at the Senate and will soon come back to the House of Commons.
Because the Bill was amended by the Senate (to remove exemptions for fuels used to heat barns, greenhouses, and other farm buildings) there is a significant possibility that it will be delayed in the House of Commons until an election, at which time it will die. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on all political parties to prioritize and pass Bill C-234.
Saskatchewan Farmer and NFU former Vice-President Glenn Wright noted that whereas energy and energy-saving alternatives exist for farm buildings, farmers who must dry grain have, at this time, few viable alternatives to propane or natural gas.
Wright commented: “In the prairies, 2019 was a very damp fall harvest and many farmers needed to rely on grain drying to prevent spoilage. There are few options to decarbonize grain drying at this time. For this reason, the House should prioritize passage of Bill C-234.”
Wright also noted, however, the urgent need to take all possible action to reduce emissions and blunt the worst impacts of climate change. He stated: “Farmers will be among the hardest hit if we don’t act fast to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate. For this reason—to protect farmers—the NFU supports pollution pricing; it is an important policy tool to reduce the harmful emissions fueling the climate crisis and threatening farms and food supplies.”
Wright noted that the Senate amended C-234 to remove the exemption for fuels to heat barns and other farm buildings. This creates a pressing need for financing and incentives to support farmers in making changes to increase energy efficiency and adopt new heating options. “The NFU recognizes that farmers can improve building efficiency and switch heating sources to clean technologies like heat pumps, but these renovations are capital intensive and farmers will need extensive financial support to decarbonize the heating of barns and greenhouses,” said Wright.
He concluded: “Because farmers are so climate-dependent—so vulnerable—it is in farmers’ interests that Canada and all nations reduce emissions as quickly as possible. Canada’s pollution-pricing system is a crucial part of that effort. Thus, farmers have an interest in seeing that policy deployed as broadly and effectively as possible. In this one case, however, because there are no alternative grain drying options for farmers, a temporary exemption is the right policy.”
For more information:
Glenn Wright, NFU Former Vice-President of Policy, (306) 361-7314, email@example.com
Murray Jowett, Climate Policy Coordinator (204) 807-0877 firstname.lastname@example.org