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Coquitlam district gets carbon money for energy upgrades

For the past two years, School District 43 has received more in grants for energy upgrades than it has paid out in carbon offsets to Pacific Carbon Trust. - FILE PHOTO
For the past two years, School District 43 has received more in grants for energy upgrades than it has paid out in carbon offsets to Pacific Carbon Trust.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

Last year the province moved to change the way schools are compensated for money they pay out to Pacific Carbon Trust, an agency that was the subject of a recent provincial audit.

In a report released Wednesday, Auditor General John Doyle concluded that two carbon capture projects that were the largest beneficiaries of B.C.'s multi-million-dollar "carbon neutral government" program did not provide credible carbon offsets for emissions from government operations.

The report has been roundly criticized by Environment Minister Terry Lake, who said the government "fundamentally rejects" Doyle's conclusions, and stands by the outside experts who were called on to validate the carbon offset investments.

However, School District 43 has received more in grants for energy efficient upgrades than it has paid out in carbon offsets to PCT, according to a recent report.

In 2010/’11, the district paid out $555,612 to the trust for its carbon emissions, calculated at $25 per tonne of C02e.

But it received $586,104, which it spent on lighting, heating and other improvements, including $328,650 for lighting upgrades at Pleasantside, Central, Leigh, Moody and Mary Hill elementary schools.

It's not known how much the district is expected to pay in carbon offsets to the trust for 2012 because the report isn't due until May.

Prior to the receipt of grants for upgrades, the board of education was a critic of the province's Carbon Neutral Government Regulation, which came into effect in 2008 and requires districts as well as other government agencies to tally up their carbon emissions, based on energy and paper consumption. The board was concerned money from public education was going toward paying for energy-saving projects for private industry.

— with files from Tom Fletcher

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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