I was surprised to learn that the Town of Golden is planning to become “carbon neutral” by purchasing carbon offsets from Pacific Carbon Trust.
The current price of offsets is $25 per tonne, and is expected to increase in the future. I understand that the Town plans to spend about $14,000 on these offsets in 2012.
The Pacific Carbon Trust is a Crown Corporation which trades carbon offsets.
It buys them from its clients who have made changes in their operations resulting on reduced Carbon emissions.
They verify that the carbon emissions are real and then sell them to those seeking to become carbon neutral.
Their clients range from lodges that have put in more efficient furnaces to large industries such as agriculture, forestry, oil and gas and cement production.
It is hard to say how many of these carbon reduction projects have been influenced by the sale of carbon offsets.
They have all resulted in increased efficiencies and it is likely that many of them would have gone forward without the support from the sale of carbon offsets.
There is no doubt that a portion of the Town’s proposed expenditure will not affect carbon emissions but will go to reduce the cost of corporate projects.
The balance is so small that it will have no measurable effect on carbon emissions. I wonder if there is any benefit in spending taxpayer’s money on carbon offsets.
It might be wise to reconsider this expenditure before making a final commitment.
I assume the Town has carried out a complete energy audit including cutting out all unnecessary travel.