Carbon offset cash to go back to hospitals, colleges

The B.C. government is continuing to remake its unpopular "carbon neutral government" program

Health Minister Terry Lake listens as Environment Minister Mary Polak announces changes to carbon neutral government program Tuesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is continuing to remake its unpopular “carbon neutral government” program, expanding a fund to return carbon offset payments to hospitals and post-secondary institutions for energy saving projects.

The new capital fund is an expansion of the “carbon neutral capital program” that was set up for B.C.’s 60 school districts in 2012. The fund is financed via a 2010 law that forces all public sector entities to pay $25 per tonne for greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.

Environment Minister Mary Polak announced Tuesday that carbon offsets from health authorities, colleges and universities will be added to the school capital fund, which districts apply to with energy saving ideas such as insulation or boiler replacement.

The carbon neutral government plan was controversial from the start, as school and health districts had to divert millions from their budgets to offset their heating, lighting and transportation emissions.

Its popularity didn’t improve when the first big carbon offsets chosen by the Pacific Carbon Trust included a gas well flare reduction program for Encana Corp. in northern B.C.

Then B.C.’s Auditor General reported that the flaring project and a forest preserve in the Kootenays were not valid carbon offsets, because both were underway before carbon offset money was offered to help them. The Pacific Carbon Trust was wound up last year, with offsets chosen by small group in the environment ministry.

The education ministry also announced Tuesday its latest energy saving project funded in 28 school districts. They include boiler replacements, heat pumps and electric cars. School bus emissions have been exempted from the carbon neutral government program since the beginning.


Just Posted

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Most Read