Coun. Bob Thompson wants to hear from the local agricultural industry about the topic of carbon sequestration. (Bob Thompson/Submitted)

Central Saanich councillor looks to agricultural community for best way to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Coun. Bob Thompson wants to seek feedback from Peninsula and Area Agricultural Commission

A Central Saanich councillor is looking for input from the region’s agricultural industry for the best ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Coun. Bob Thompson has filed a notice of motion, that if approved, would bring the issue before the Peninsula and Area Agricultural Commission, an advisory committee with the mandate to advise Central Saanich, Metchosin, North Saanich, Saanich, Sidney and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area on agricultural matters and to facilitate the development of programs among other objectives. Its membership includes representatives from the municipalities as well as from the industry.

The notice of motion does not specifically call for carbon sequestration, which it defines as removal of carbon from the atmosphere through tree planting, restoration of land and coastal areas, and altering agricultural practices.

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Thompson said his motion is just about starting a conversation about these techniques, some of which local farmers may already be using, or not, with all of their financial implications.

The notice of motion before council appears after Central Saanich has upped its climate change goals and before it reviews its Official Community Plan. It is against this background that Thompson would like to see this future discussion unfold.

While Central Saanich’s two largest sources of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are transportation and buildings, Thompson says carbon sequestration by the agricultural sector can play its part in reducing emissions, albeit in the long-term, a point acknowledged in the notice of motion itself as well as the staff report outlining the municipality’s tougher climate change goals.

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“These initiatives typically take many years to achieve significant emission reductions and would have a minimal impact by 2030,” it reads. “However, they are an important strategy for achieving a carbon-neutral community by 2050 and beyond.”

Looking more broadly, agriculture is both a source and sink of emissions, and various experts have called for fundamental changes to agriculture to meet the double challenge of feeding growing populations while meeting climate change goals.

The provincial government has already held a workshop in November to help develop adaption strategies specific for the region.

A second workshop is scheduled for the second week of February. The commission will also meet that month.


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