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Council won't trade carbon offsets

When the city of Terrace signed the B.C. Carbon Action Charter in 2008 it committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, moving towards the goal of carbon neutrality.

And in the spirit of this commitment, the city had set aside $35,000 in the 2013 budget to purchase carbon offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust, however council voted on May 27 to reallocate the money into a “Carbon Offset Project Reserve Fund”.

This means it is now up to the city to decide what to do with the reserve money. Terrace city council was presented with four options for the fund, voting to accept the fourth recommendation—meaning the money can be spent on local carbon reduction projects or saved for carbon offset purchases at a future date.

The other three options included developing a major carbon offset project; accepting a predetermined list of small projects; or committing to buying carbon offsets.

During the discussion council asked sustainability coordinator Tara Irwin about the merits of this fund and Irwin reminded them several times that the $35,000 is revenue neutral because municipalities get most of the money back through carbon tax rebates.

Long time Terrace resident Dick Evans spoke out to say he thought the carbon credit trade is “a sham” that has been hurting school districts who have spent millions purchasing credits through the Pacific Carbon Trust, money that ends up in the pockets of industrial corporations selling their excess credits.

Councillor Bruce Bidgood said that he would like to see “information from the trust to find out who net payer and net receivers” are for transactions affecting this area.

Councillor Stacey Tyers was backed by several other councillors including Marylin Davies and Brian Downie in supporting the recommendation to adopt option four.

Other councillors like James Cordeiro and Lynne Christiansen said they favoured a theoretical fifth option to axe the carbon offset program completely.

Mayor David Pernarowski said option four was in keeping with recent UBCM resolutions.

Irwin also told council that one way to allocate money from the $35,000 reserve would be to pay for residential organic waste collection.

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