Give $30 million Pacific Carbon Trust surplus back to schools, hospitals, say New Democrats

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VICTORIA – New Democrats are calling on the B.C. Liberal government to invest the current $30 million Pacific Carbon Trust surplus back into capital upgrades and retrofits at public institutions.

“Cash strapped schools and hospitals are forced to pay into the Pacific Carbon Trust, which is racking up a hefty profit each year,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “The least we should expect is that those contributions will come back to our public institutions to help reduce their carbon footprint and reduce energy costs in future.”

The Pacific Carbon Trust was set up with the aim of making B.C.’s public sector carbon neutral. Yet the trust has become a profitable enterprise: while public institutions are forced to pay $25 per tonne to subsidize their carbon emissions, the Trust purchases offsets for as low as $11 per tonne. Recently released figures show that in 2012 alone, the Pacific Carbon Trust took $18 million from public sector institutions to pay for private sector carbon offset projects.

“It is appalling that pipeline companies, cement companies and major hotel chains are enjoying generous subsidies courtesy of B.C.’s schools and hospitals,” said Chandra Herbert.

“Climate change is real, and emissions must be cut. Money meant for schools and hospitals should be returned to help them take steps to reduce emissions, while the government needs to work with oil and gas companies and profitable corporations to ensure they pay to reduce their own pollution.”

New Democrats have been a strong, principled opposition in the legislature, and will continue to fight for the critical services British Columbians depend on, and for the accountability they deserve.