Cost of carbon offsets in Golden clarified

In the past several weeks, the purchase of carbon offsets, and their cost to the Town of Golden, has been called into question.

In the past several weeks, the purchase of carbon offsets, and their cost to the Town of Golden, has been called into question.

It was reported last week in the Golden Star that Pacific Carbon Trust and their pricing model are being examined by the province.

Golden, however, does not purchase, and has no intention of purchasing carbon offsets from PCT.

PCT charges $25 per ton for offsets, and based on that cost it was reported that Golden will spend an estimated $14,000 on offsets in 2013. The cost to the town will be far less than that due to the fact that Golden will be purchasing its offsets from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District at a cost of $15 to $16.50. At this price, it is estimated the Town will spend closer to $9,000 on offsets in 2013.

Golden’s Official Community Plan states that “The Town will endeavour to purchase carbon offsets of only a high environmental quality from reputable agencies and organizations such as the Pacific Carbon Trust.”

Since the Town is able to purchase quality offsets from the CSRD, they have opted not to deal with PCT.

The Town’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2012, through the purchase of offsets, comes from the voluntary signing of the BC Climate Action Charter.

As signatories to the charter, Golden is eligible for rebates through the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP).  The rebate is equivalent to 100 per cent of the carbon taxes the town pays on their energy consumption, and is expected to be roughly $14,000 for 2013.

It has been proposed by Coun. Keith Hern that Golden withdraw itself from its voluntary commitment to the charter, stating that it does nothing to improve the air quality in Golden, and that resources would be better spent elsewhere, such as the Woodstove Exchange Program.

The Town has agreed to partake in some energy and emissions reduction training with Dale Littlejohn, the executive director of the BC Community Energy Association.

He will be in town for two days of training in mid-March, the first of which will be more of a formal presentation, open to the public. The second day will be for Town staff and council, where they will be able to ask questions regarding policy.

Council agreed that they need more education before making any decision on Hern’s proposal, and will likely bring it back to council chambers for discussion after the training.