Thanks to the Pacific Carbon Trust set up by the provincial
government, low-carbon projects in BC are monetizing their carbon
emission reductions. Selling the reductions to the Carbon Trust
provides the owners of low-carbon projects in BC with an additional
revenue stream to improve the return on investment and make these
projects more profitable.
The Carbon Trust was established in 2008 as part of BC's
Climate Action Plan. As the province's newest Crown
Corporation, the Carbon Trust operates to secure emissions offsets
on behalf of both the provincial public sector and any interested
private sector clients. Initially, the Carbon Trust is focusing on
its public sector mandate as the agency is charged with helping the
provincial government become carbon neutral by 2010, in accordance
with the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Target Act. But the
Carbon Trust is also delivering emissions offsets to private sector
clients that want to mitigate their own greenhouse gas
To ensure that the Carbon Trust only purchases high-quality
offsets, the Ministry of Environment developed an Emission Offsets
Regulation that is based on internationally recognized criteria and
standards common to offset systems. The superior quality of these
BC-based projects is guaranteed by requiring each offset project to
be subject to independent third-party verification of its emission
reductions according to the ISO 14064-3 standard. And to help
ensure accountability and transparency, the Carbon Trust also
tracks all retired offsets on its website.
The Carbon Trust only purchases offsets that support BC-based
projects and that would not have been financially viable without
the Carbon Trust's support. This requirement provides BC with a
two-fold benefit: it provides British Columbians with a cleaner
environment, and it ensures that the provincial economy receives
substantial economic stimulus. By only procuring offsets locally,
the Carbon Trust is encouraging innovation in the province's
clean tech sector and fostering the growth of a BC-based offset
industry. Currently, the Carbon Trust charges a transaction charge
of $25 per tonne offset and the collected funds are used to finance
local projects that use new processes and technologies to address
climate change. At this price, the Carbon Trust will quickly
provide the province with substantial economic stimulus.
The Carbon Trust's first delivery of 34,370 tonnes of
offsets was only directed at offsetting the emissions related to
government business travel. But by 2010, all government-related
emissions will require offsetting, expanding the scope of the
Carbon Trust's client base to include school districts,
colleges, universities, health authorities, other Crown
corporations and other government agencies. Because of this
expanded scope, the Carbon Trust expects that it will be delivering
between 700,000 and 1,000,000 tonnes of offsets annually by 2011.
At $25 per tonne offset, BC's clean tech sector stands to
receive a considerable financial boost.
So far, the Carbon Trust has agreed to acquire offsets from 15
facilities in BC. This includes 330,000 tonnes of offsets over five
years from Offsetters Clean Technology Inc., a BC-based private
offset business. To put this in perspective, 330,000 tonnes of
offsets is equivalent to taking 85,800 cars off the road for a
year. Offsetters will use the funds from the Carbon Trust to
facilitate technology upgrades to four local greenhouses and a
cement plant that will substantially cut the carbon emissions from
all of them.
McCarthy Tétrault Notes:
In the near future, expect the Carbon Trust to offer offsets
directly to businesses or individuals who are interested in
offsetting their emissions-producing activities. Although no
specific details are available yet, the Carbon Trust expects to
provide the private sector with a variety of easy-to-use ways to
purchase high quality BC-based offsets. But currently, the Carbon
Trust requires interested businesses or individuals to contact the
Carbon Trust directly for more information.
Private sector companies that are interested in supplying
offsets to the Carbon Trust should get involved with the Carbon
Trust's procurement process. The Carbon Trust issues
procurement calls through its own website and on BC Bid. Clean tech
companies are advised to monitor these procurement calls closely,
as support from the Carbon Trust may rapidly take an
emissions-reducing project from drawing board to reality.
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