We welcome readers’comments on issues that have been covered in the Manitoba Co-operator. In most cases we cannot accept “open” letters or copies of letters which have been sent to several publications. Letters are subject to editing for length or taste. We suggest a maximum of about 300 words.
I am responding to Brian Sterling’s letter entitled “Carbon credit grab will discourage BMPs” (Co-operator, Oct. 1, page 5) as I feel there are a few misconceptions.
First, any carbon credits created by BMPs (best management practices) are effectively being purchased. If you look at other provinces, you will see their support for BMPs is 30 to 40 per cent below Manitoba’s for similar projects. Effectively this province is paying an upfront bonus for ownership of the carbon credits for a fixed period of time.
Second, the period of time involved is very short – four years for the EFAP portion of incentive and only three years for MSAPP funding. Also, the province only gets what it pays for; if it pays for 75 per cent of a project, 75 per cent of the credits are all it gets.
Third, where else can we get any real value to Manitoba farmers for the carbon credits they produce? The Chicago Climate Exchange is only about 30 cents per ton – not worth transaction costs. Alberta markets are open to Alberta producers only, and any Canadian or U. S. marketplace is at least several years away at best.
The writer also seems concerned that the extra benefits of other Environmental Goods and Services are also part of the deal. They are not. We at Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) are working hard to create a marketplace where farmers can get some compensation for the environmental services they create. Carbon offsets are one small step in that direction.
It is true that carbon credits are created by the actions of farmers, and they are theirs to sell as they please. But to do that there has to be a buyer. The province has made commitments to reach reductions in carbon emissions and is currently the only willing buyer.
Whenever possible KAP strives to be proactive and to come up with solutions for the industry.
Ian Wishart President, Keystone
Agricultural Producers Portage la Prairie, Man.
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