We finally get to say “will the last one out at the Pacific Carbon Trust please turn out out the lights?”
Mind you, the Crown corporation set-up in 2008 to enter the poorly regulated carbon offsets racket will be folded into the Climate Action Secretariat. If the BC Liberals are right, taxpayers will save $5.6 million by 2015-2016. This was the first move announced by Core Review Minister Bill Bennett on Nov. 19.
A damning March report by then-Auditor General John Doyle said the B.C. government wasn’t really carbon neutral and PCT had not bought credible offsets and cast doubt on the entire practice. Doyle found that in 2010, 128 public sector organizations were taxed to the tune of $18.2 million so that PCT could buy carbon offsets.
“Offsets can only be credible in British Columbia if, among other things, the revenue from their sale is the tipping point in moving forward on a project. It must be an incentive, not a subsidy, for the reduction of [greenhouse gases].”
Still, Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation is calling for government to stop squeezing school districts and hospital authorities for big bucks to subsidize corporations. “Who in their right mind considers a school or hospital a polluter? Taxpayers are spending millions on buying carbon credits for these facilities rather than providing frontline services,” said B.C. Director Jordan Bateman.
Indeed, PCT spending deserves to be under the microscope.
PCT claimed to be in the business of helping clear the air for British Columbians. When it came to transparency, it was quite smoggy. I wrote about that in this blog post, Should you trust the Pacific Carbon Trust?
Below is a copy of the contracts it made in year ended March 31, 2013 for goods and services $25,000 and up.
PCT funneled $2.7 million via the Great Bear Initiative to the anti-oil tanker Coastal First Nations Society for buying carbon offsets.
At the time it was awarded a $125,500 contract, Wazuku partner/BC Liberal ally Michael Watson was also a director of the PCT. The folks at Good Insights Strategy Inc., Grant Thornton and WDA Consulting were probably not amused.
The $840,000 payment to the Carbon Measuring and Reporting Program is to pay for the web-based SMARTTool that enables public sector organizations to “comply with their legislated measurement and reporting obligations.”
PCT announced April 5, 2012 that it would absorb $850,000 in SMARTTool costs that had been charged to public sector organizations.