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Canada: Your taxes at play

April 3, 2013

Succinct and utterly damning.

The PCT was set up as a Crown corporation, expressly to use taxpayer money to buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are like papal indulgences, absolving corporations’ sins of “emitting carbon” on one hand, by financing “carbon reduction” projects that “offset” carbon dioxide being emitted on the other. These projects can include forests, or grassland.

That’s how it is supposed to work. Like everything else we allow government to do that is beyond its authority to do, the PCT doesn’t work as intended. Whenever huge sums of taxpayer money are made available, corporate rent seekers and bureaucratic entrepreneurs flock to the trough to get their share.

Marketed as a “market” solution to the imaginary problem of CO2, the government was convinced by the rent seekers to “seed” the PCT with “marketable” offsets. There needed to be money in the trust for investment in projects that would make up the offsets.

The B.C. government is PCT’s biggest customer, mandating all government departments to divert precious resources meant to deliver programs, to the purchase of “offsets” from the PCT. In 2010, B.C. schools spent $4.4 million of taxpayer’s dollars purchasing offsets from the taxpayer-funded PCT. Teachers were laid off as a result, but no less carbon dioxide was emitted.

Flush with public money, PCT priced carbon dioxide at $25/tonne to schools and hospitals, and then went looking for projects that would hypothetically offset the carbon hypothetically emitted by those evil schools and hospitals. Not surprisingly, they found some.

The Darkwoods project is a tract of private forest in the West Kootenay that was assembled by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, purportedly for “conservation”. Fortuitously, Darkwoods fits the PCT’s idea of a “carbon sink” and thus provides offsets to sell to the PCT.

The PCT doesn’t like anyone to know the market price of carbon — all other carbon exchanges in the world have collapsed as a result of fraudulent activity — but we know it charges schools $25/tonne, and based on the information available from NCC, the Darkwoods offsets the price of carbon at about $5.70/tonne. On this basis, B.C. taxpayers are paying about four times the PCT market price to achieve the dubious goal of “carbon neutrality”

Penticton Western News

I hear there was some pretty good money in the indulgence business while it lasted, too.


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