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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘We just have to keep going’: Smaller weddings with bigger hearts ahead as weddings adapt to COVID-19

A struggling hospitality industry wary but hopeful of future amid industry-shaking changes

Sumas First Nation pilots eight-inch gill-net fishery in Sumas/Vedder River

Project in Abbotsford renews fishing practice and data gathering of chinook salmon

Chilliwack home built in 1910 will be saved from demolition

The 110-year-old house on Hope River Road is being relocated to nearby Riverside Drive

TRAFFIC: Possible injuries in reported crash near Popkum

Drivers advised to avoid the roundabout between Agassiz and Popkum

Police watchdog investigating after Abbotsford man seriously injured during arrest

Abbotsford police used ‘less lethal firearm’ and dog in arrest of man believed to have gun

Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

The study looked at anonymous blood samples collected for reasons unrelated to COVID-19

Canucks want baby bear cub at Aldergrove zoo named Huggy Bear

Greater Vancouver Zoo recently rescued three grizzly bear cub who need names

Police watchdog probes Vancouver arrest after man on bicycle left with ‘serious’ injuries

Police were searching for a man who was allegedly involved in a prior incident when they saw him on a bicycle

‘We’re not busting ghosts’: Northern B.C. paranormal investigators check out bistro

Paranormal North Coast British Columbia recently checked out PF Bistro at City Centre Mall.

Russian hackers seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine data: intel agencies

It is believed APT29, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’ was responsible

Twitter racing to unravel mystery cyberattack

Some of the world’s most prominent names had their Twitter accounts post invitations for an apparent Bitcoin scam

B.C. announces funding to support post-secondary students with disabilities

The province is investing $275,000 in the new BCcampus website

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Abbotsford woman starts petition to have B.C. government help with IVF costs

Jennifer Kuiken says cost of in vitro fertilization is too high for most people

Most Read