It has recently become apparent to our Norfolk County ALUS team that a great deal of environmental policy going forward in Ontario has been defined in the 'Ontario Action Plan On Climate Change". What is interesting about this document is the broad scope that it encompasses and (though not specifically stated) it allows for the concept of "stacking " of environmental benefits.
To quote the document, "Ontario will work with its' ag partners in developing carbon offset initiatives. This work will provide important co-benefits such as increasing conservation lands, improving habitat, preserving wetlands, reducing waste and improving water quality".
The development of a cap and trade system for carbon now means that government will define a value for this environmental service (sequestration) and have opened the door to stacking the value of the co- benefits created. This is a very good opportunity for us to grow the ALUS concept, but more importantly, the Ontario government could now invest in ALUS and score a very big environmental win.
The fact of the matter is, there is precious little going on in Ontario to create new carbon storage systems, except for our very successful "official" first year, where carbon was sequestered in several tall- grass prairie and oak savannah projects under ALUS.
Community involvement at its best, developing farm- based solutions for the world's biggest environmental challenge.
When the people of Ontario wanted more renewable energy, the community was engaged through the incentives offered in Ontario's Standard Offer Program and this undertaking has been a huge success.
Similarly, if the people of Ontario want more carbon sequestered, more biodiversity, fewer species at risk and wildlife habitat, it makes sense to enlist farmers and their lands to provide these services.
With the vast majority of land in southern Ontario owned by farmers, farmland is a critical resource for sequestering carbon and fighting climate change. Farmers have the necessary skills and equipment to plant native cover that provides direct offsets by sequestering carbon and a host of additional environmental benefits.
For a full version of the Carbon Cap and Trade Proposal please contact:
ALUS Project Coordinator
(p) 519-426-5999 ext 2220