Developers get credits, schoolyards get stumps
Thanks to the recent release of information the Crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust fought to withhold, we now know just how much private corporations received in public dollars to allegedly retire public-sector, greenhouse-gas emissions.
By far the most money paid by schools, hospitals and the like was for carbon credits bought by the PCT from one of B.C.'s biggest logging companies. For "conserving" tracts of trees, PCT paid Timber West a tidy $5.6 million. The 2010 project has striking parallels to the scenario just described.
It rests on the claim that Timber-West "conserved" forests it otherwise would have logged. For this, the company sold 560,925 carbon credits to PCT. Because PCT holds a monopoly, public agencies were forced to pay PCT $25 for each of the Timber-West credits. The trouble is that on the open market that year, the average carbon credits sold for just $6. Thanks to PCT's mark-up on Timber-West's credits, our schools, hospitals and the like paid $14 million or more than four times the going rate.
Worse, in addition to lost services for school kids and hospital patients, that $14 million bought little if any climatic benefit. Here's why.