Re: Pacific Carbon Trust.
I was troubled by MLA Barnett’s response to the issue of the provincial government mandating public agencies (schools, health authorities, Crown corps) to buy carbon offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT).
She stated that school trustees and I are misrepresenting the structure of the trust.
Here are the facts: the public sector is mandated by law to calculate their carbon emissions above a set baseline; they have to pay the government for the software tool to do this calculation; they must pay $25 out of their operating budgets to the PCT for every tonne above the baseline in order to be “carbon neutral;” they cannot apply to the PCT to get help to fund projects to actually reduce their emissions.
The private sector has no hard targets set by government, does not pay carbon tax on emissions resulting from their production activities, and can apply to the PCT to get financial assistance to reduce those emissions and enjoy the associated energy and other cost savings.
Every year the PCT will get between $20 million and $25 million from public agencies; millions of dollars that would otherwise be used to pay teachers, nurses, fund hospital beds or support seniors’ care. That tax money will be used instead to subsidize private companies like Encana, LaFarge, or hotels, to do the kinds of energy-efficiency projects that these same public agencies do not have the funds to do.
The $25 million that MLA Barnett states went to the public sector to fund some emission-reduction projects ran out last year — there is no new money for public agencies to actually reduce their emissions.Instead they must fund private sector projects.
I challenge MLA Barnett to show me the error in my understanding of how the Pacific Carbon Trust is structured.
If the government wants to provide incentives to the private sector to reduce their greenhouse gases they should find ways other than taking money away from our schools, hospitals, seniors’ facilities, and other taxpayer-funded public programs.
Independent MLA, Cariboo North