Farms form 3.5 per cent of B.C. GHG baseline

Within the benchmark for annual greenhouse gas emissions by which British Columbia will measure its success in cutting GHG output, farming activities form just 3.5 per cent.

The province on Thursday released its greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for 2007, which it will use as the baseline for its plans to cut emissions further. B.C. residents and businesses in 2007 generated 67.31 megatonnes of GHGs (carbon dioxide equivalent).

Of that total, agriculture activities generated 2.34 megatonnes, or 3.5 per cent, in 2007.

However, “agriculture” in this case includes emissions from “enteric fermentation,” meaning the digestive process in ruminants such as cattle, as well as emissions from agricultural soils and from manure management, the province said.

It doesn’t include B.C. farms’ fuel use, which falls under several categories of “energy,” such as transport, “stationary combustion” and “fugitive sources.” Transport fuel consumption alone made up 37 per cent of the province’s total GH emissions in 2007. The “afforestation and deforestation” category covered 4.7 per cent, while “stationary combustion sources” covered 35.2 per cent.

Under the province’s Greenhouse Gas Reductions Target Act, the B.C. government said it has made a “legally binding commitment” to cut GHG emissions in B.C. by at least 33 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 below the 2007 level.

Emissions will be tracked from the 2007 baseline to establish trends across the relevant sectors throughout the province.

“The starting point for managing greenhouse gas emissions is to make sure we can measure them accurately and consistently,” John Yap, the province’s minister of state for climate change, said in a release Thursday.

“This inventory means we have a tangible baseline for measuring our progress to a cleaner, greener British Columbia.”

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