Canada Unveils $2.3 Billion Green Budget and Funds $200 Million in “Green Infrastructure”, USDA Expands CRP, and Meet PUSH Green, Buffalo!

by | May 14, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Canada unveils 2021 $2.3 billion “Green” budget and funds $200 Million in “Green Infrastructure.” USDA Expands Conservation Reserve Program to Combat Climate Change, and meet PUSH Green, Buffalo!



In 2005, Aaron Bartley and Eric Walker founded PUSH in Buffalo, NY. PUSH stands for People United for Sustainable Housing. It was established to create strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing; decrease the rate of housing abandonment by reclaiming empty houses from neglectful public and private owners and redeveloping them for occupancy by low-income residents; and develop neighborhood leaders capable of gaining community control over the development process and planning for the future of the neighborhood. One of its signature achievements was the 2018, $14.8 million renovation of the old Public School 77 into a community hub anchored by 30 affordable senior living apartments, a community athletic center, and an auditorium.  All powered by a 64-kilowatt solar array. That project helped jumpstart PUSH Green, a non-profit community-based energy efficiency program funded by (PUSH Buffalo) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). PUSH GREEN is part of a statewide effort to make Buffalo area homes or small businesses more comfortable, reduce energy usage and bills, address climate change and create local jobs. 

Why Push Green, Buffalo matters to us is it’s proof positive that a non-profit community-based energy-efficiency and renewable installation company can successfully collaborate with a state-based energy authority. It provides a model for other communities in other states and municipalities. PUSH Green, Buffalo offers the following opportunities: Educational outreach workshops on energy efficiency, weatherization and solar. Small commercial program, energy audits, Building repair rebate program. Free or reduced cost comprehensive energy assessments, retrofits, solar, assessments, and installations. 

DEEPER DIVE: PUSH Green, Buffalo News,



For the first time, the Canadian Federal Government has recognized Natural (Green) Infrastructure and established a $200 million Natural Infrastructure Fund. The budget will disburse the money over three years, starting in 2021-2022. Infrastructure Canada has been tasked to establish the new Fund that will support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects. Why this matters to us: More and more governments are now realizing that green infrastructure delivers fantastic value and is worthy of significant public investment.  Beyond bridges and roads, natural infrastructure plays a vital role in making communities livable. Local parks, green spaces and waterfronts are all examples of natural infrastructures that support well-being, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and prevent costly natural events.

Catherine Grenier, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, praised her government’s effort: “To invest in nature is to invest in the life support systems that sustain us all. Clean air, clean water, nutritious food, jobs and our overall well-being depend on nature. In a recent survey, nine in 10 Canadians told us we need to invest more to restore and care for our natural systems.” A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in November 2020 revealed Canadians are turning to nature to cope with the stresses of the pandemic. More than 90 per cent of those surveyed said nature was more important to them now than ever before.

DEEPER DIVE: Living Architecture, Global Newswire,



The Canadian government made historic investment in nature protection in its Budget 2021, aimed at addressing the dual threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. The federal budget earmarks a $2.3 billion commitment to conserve 1 million square kilometers of land over five years. Combined with funding for the Nature Legacy Initiative in Budget 2018, this is a major boost toward protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s lands and fresh water. It is in fact the largest-ever Canadian investment in nature. Of note, the funding supports Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, as well as Indigenous Guardians programs. In addition, the budget delivers:

  • $976.8 million to protect 25 per cent of our marine and coastal areas by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030

 NCC also recognizes the unprecedented new funding and targets in Budget 2021 aimed at tackling climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the pathway to a net zero economy by 2050. Nature is a fundamental part of any strategy to combat climate change. Said Catherine Grenier, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada,  “There is no path to sustainability without nature. At NCC we’re ready to bring more private sector investments to the table and leverage the government’s commitments. Together we can ensure a nature-positive and climate neutral future.”

DEEPER DIVE: Budget Canada, ConstructConnect, Nature Conservancy Canada



Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that The US Dept. of Agriculture will open enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. Additionally, USDA is announcing investments in partnerships to increase climate-smart agriculture, including $330 million in 85 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. CRP wants to enroll up to 4 million new acres in partnerships by raising rental payment rates and expanding the number of incentivized environmental practices allowed under the program. CRP is one of the world’s largest voluntary conservation programs with a long track record of preserving topsoil, sequestering carbon, and reducing nitrogen runoff, as well providing healthy habitat for wildlife and improving water quality.

The current acreage enrolled in the program mitigates more than 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). If USDA reaches its goal of enrolling an additional 4 million acres into the program, it will mitigate an additional 3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent and prevent 90 million pounds of nitrogen and 33 million tons of sediment from running into our waterways each year. “We want to make sure CRP continues to be a valuable and effective conservation resource for our producers for decades to come,” said Vilsack. “USDA will continue to find new and creative ways of putting producers and landowners at the center of climate-smart practices that generate revenue and benefit our planet.”