B.C. to examine pricing for carbon offsets
February 14, 2013
By BC Government Newsroom
February 14, 2013, Victoria, BC - The B.C. government will examine the pricing model for Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT) and, if needed, make whatever changes are necessary to ensure B.C.'s public sector organizations, including schools and hospitals, continue to receive the best value, Environment Minister Terry Lake announced.
"Critical to ensuring value for money is the full disclosure of what Pacific Carbon Trust pays for offsets," said Lake. "To date, PCT hasn't released that information because it was important to protect this commercial information as it helps the Crown negotiate better prices, and it assists offset developers secure better prices when they sell on international markets. As we're in our third year of buying offsets, and the offset market has matured, we now believe it's more in line with open government to release this information."
The government says it will evaluate the $25 per tonne paid for carbon offsets to Pacific Carbon Trust by public sector organizations. Government will also evaluate what PCT retains as a surplus from the buying and selling of offsets and what that money is used for, as well as what the right level of overhead should be for PCT.
The price Pacific Carbon Trust pays for offsets is lower than the $25 per tonne paid by public sector organizations.
The options the B.C. government will consider are:
• Reinvest the money into other programs specific to public sector organizations;
• Lower the cost charged to public sector organizations; or,
• Hold the retained surplus in the government's accounts as part of balancing the budget.
Pacific Carbon Trust will release a pricing framework for each of the three project types in its portfolio. This will help guide potential offset project developers as they build financing for their projects. In addition, PCT will make all carbon offset payment and pricing information from 2009 through 2011 available on its website. Going forward, PCT will continue to release this information on an annual basis every June in conjunction with the release of its annual carbon-neutral government portfolio.
"I want to make it clear that our government remains committed to the policy of carbon neutrality," said Lake. "Carbon neutrality is about leadership – putting government's house in order as it asks businesses, communities and individuals to do the same. This government's leadership on carbon neutrality drives down greenhouse gas emissions, reduces energy costs and produces savings public sector organizations can reinvest in energy saving projects. Those projects, in turn, create jobs in B.C.'s clean-energy sector."
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