Sunday, 16 December 2012

Carbon Offsets - the price of climate alarmism

Green money laundering  - the business of Carbon offsets

Recent announcements by Kimberley council and the RDEK highlight an issue that few people, even the councilors, understand enough to make well informed decisions. The price for our municipalities, hospitals and school boards to become carbon neutral is likely in the hundereds of thousands of dollars and will continue to erode the budgets for years to come.  So why are local governments, school boards and other companies having to spend precious funds on such a controversial issue? In 2007 then Premier Gordon Campbell took us down the Al Gore school of climate change with the British Columbia Climate Action Charter.  The idea behind the charter was sound to reduce the emissions and look for ways to be greener in how governments operate. Had they stopped there and looked at ways to reduce emissions as opposed to set unrealistic carbon neutral deadlines it would have gained public favour. They set in place a bureaucracy that feeds off money those schools, hospitals and municipalities can ill afford to spend. Elected officials can buy offsets, at an inflated price, from Pacific Carbon Trust, a crown corporation to keep their commitment to be carbon neutral by 2012. The PCT has a list of approved projects that they invest in at a devalued price. The Darkwoods project in Creston is the only project in the Kootenays on the PCT list hence the RDEK funding to Darkwoods.  Kimberley made the right decision and held back the $38,000 that they committed to spending on carbon offsets yet the RDEK cut a cheque to Darkwoods for $18,000. The RDEK board could have refused to pay with no consequence but fely committed. Had they looked a little deeper into the Darkwoods project they would may have made a different decision. In my mind and many others, carbon offsets are hurting our economy at a level that is not sustainable. The funds that are given to Pacific Carbon Trust are in essence green money laundering of funds that could be better spent locally. Our local councils and boards need to pull their “commitment” from the Climate Action Charter” and use the funds for local projects like Kimberley has done, it just makes common sense.
One does not have to search too deeply into the internet to see that others feel the same about the PCT and carbon offsets.
Below is an article on the carbon offsets and why the RDEK should have thought twice  before giving giving the funds to the PCT and subsequently to Darkwoods. Thank you for reading the article, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues – to help educate people in the Kootenays about the other side of issues.

Paul Visentin
Member of the Thinktwice group

BC's Strange Business of Carbon Offsets

Hospitals and schools must pay the Pacific Carbon Trust, but what are they really buying?
By Ben Parfitt, 22 Jul 2011, 
It is spun in government press releases as a "first" for any jurisdiction in North America, an achievement that places British Columbia "on the leading edge" of efforts to combat climate change. But scratch the surface just a little, and questions arise about the legitimacy of Environment Minister Terry Lake's recent claim that "from this point forward, every government building in our province will be carbon neutral." Since it is almost impossible for government buildings -- cash-strapped schools and hospitals among them -- to not be net consumers of energy and therefore net greenhouse gas emitters, purchasing carbon credits to allegedly counteract those emissions is essential to the province's claim to carbon neutrality and its self-anointed status as continental environmental leader. By law, the provincial government requires institutions to buy those credits from just one entity -- the Pacific Carbon Trust or PCT, a Crown corporation set up for specifically that purpose. This gives the PCT a monopoly position for a segment of the carbon market, which at present is largely a voluntary market dominated by private sector carbon sellers and buyers.Bob Simpson, Independent MLA for Cariboo North, says not only is the PCT's monopoly position hurting cash-strapped school districts and health authorities that are forced to pay the PCT as much as four times more money than they would otherwise pay for the same credits from a private credit marketer, but the legitimacy of a good number of the credits that the PCT has bought and sold may be of questionable merit as well.
'Money from kids and patients': MLA Simpson
An examination of the PCT's "2010 Carbon Neutral Government Portfolio" published in June of this year reveals that fully 55 per cent of the 729,782 tonnes worth of carbon offsets that it has purchased and marketed to meet the provincial government's "carbon neutral" goal for 2010, came from just one project known as Darkwoods, a chunk of privately owned forest land purchased three years ago by the Nature Conservancy of Canada when, Simpson says, the PCT "was nothing more than a just fledgling organization." Simpson also says that the project does not appear to meet the PCT's own standards for qualifying carbon offset projects. That standard is known as additionally. Part of the additionally test is that any project supported by the PCT must face "economic, investment or technological barriers to implementation that are overcome or partially overcome by the money from the sale of offsets." "The trust must prove that without its money this purchase would not have happened and therefore the credits would not have been generated. I don't buy that in this case," Simpson says. "And we're talking money from kids and patients to make this happen?"
Mark-up is not transparent
As a matter of policy, PCT does not disclose what it pays for its carbon credit purchases, says its managing director of business development, David Moffat. However, enough facts are known about the Darkwoods project to give a good idea. The sale of the credits was announced June 8 in a jointly issued press release that included the NCC and PCT. The press release notes that the NCC as "Canada's leading private land conservation organization", had just completed the largest ever forest carbon project to date in North America, with the successful marketing of 700,000 tonnes of carbon credits. The sale of the credits not only raised the bar for conservation in Canada, the press release claims, but it "contributes in excess of $4 million for NCC's conservation work." Based on the number of credits sold and the selling price, the sale worked out to roughly $5.70 a tonne. While PCT will not disclose what it paid for the 403,112 tonnes of credits it purchased from the NCC, the price that PCT's captive public sector "clients" are required to pay is known. That price is $25 a tonne, or more than four times the average price generated from the Darkwoods carbon credit sale, meaning that public sector entities including school districts and health authorities will fork out $10.07 million to help meet the government's carbon neutrality goals.And that's just the beginning of where things get murky from a public policy perspective.
Darkwoods billed as 'immense carbon sink'
Just how much additional carbon has actually been stored at Darkwoods since the NCC stepped in to purchase them in 2008?
click here to read the full article


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