(The following press release from the British Columbia Ministry of
Environment was received by e-mail and was reformatted. The sender verified the
For Immediate Release
March 27, 2013
Ministry of Environment
Auditor General's carbon neutrality conclusion rejected
VICTORIA - The B.C. government accepts recommendations included in a report
released today by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) titled "An Audit of
Carbon Neutral Government", but rejects its conclusion that government has not
met its objective of achieving a carbon neutral public sector.
"British Columbia became the first carbon neutral government in North America
2010 and is recognized as a world leader in climate action - I stand by our
achievements," said Environment Minister Terry Lake. "The audit was limited in
scope - only covering B.C.'s first year as a carbon neutral government and the
first two offsets purchased by Pacific Carbon Trust - and does not reflect the
changes made to B.C.'s offset system as the market has evolved."
B.C.'s offset system is based on international standards. A key feature of
B.C.'s offset program is that third-party, accredited professionals validate
and verify projects to ensure they meet the requirements of B.C.'s emission
offsets regulation. This approach is consistent with new offset systems now
being implemented in Quebec, California, Australia, China, South Korea and
The Province will move forward on the recommendations of the OAG, and has
already accomplished significant improvements in the following areas during the
past year while the audit has been underway:
* Developed a diversified offset portfolio of 32 projects in all sectors of the
economy and all regions of B.C.
* Completed extensive engagements across the public sector, with offset
professionals, and with academics and experts to improve the Carbon Neutral
* Eliminated reporting costs to the entire public sector.
* Implemented a new Carbon Neutral Capital Program which has already provided
$10 million dollars over two years in new capital funding to the
kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education sector.
* Created a Carbon Offset Advisory Panel to advise Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT)
on the development of its offset portfolio.
* Provided greater transparency by publicly releasing the purchase price of
every offset in PCT's portfolio.
* Initiated a review to determine if the financial surplus currently generated
from offset purchases should be used to lower public-sector costs or invested
to further reduce emissions.
In addition, the Climate Action Secretariat (CAS) is currently working with PCT
and offset professionals to improve B.C.'s offset system. To address the OAG's
recommendation that CAS provide stronger oversight to ensure that offsets
purchased on behalf of government are credible, the CAS director with statutory
authority has already begun to consult with the professional community and
develop more formal and rigorous procedures to ensure that the director's
oversight role is clear, clearly communicated to PCT and delivered
Pacific Carbon Trust is a Crown corporation created in 2008 to purchase
high-quality offsets and support the growth of the offset market in B.C. As the
market develops, PCT's policies and operations will also continue to evolve.
With this in mind, PCT has been working with Deloitte to improve its business
processes, policies and risk management.
* To view further information on offsets, visit Pacific Carbon Trust at:
Ministry of Environment
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect
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