Taxpayers burned by carbon trust

Government's friends in big business and big green grow rich while schools and hospitals make do

“Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey”

King Canute, in an effort to demonstrate his mortality, is said to have commanded the tides to go out, even as the tides come in. He knew he was only human and had no more power over nature than did his sycophant supporters.

Our leaders, like Canute, cannot control nature, but we stand idly by while they waste billions of our tax dollars in an attempt to do just that.

There has not been, in recent times, a better vehicle for government and big business to conspire to steal tax dollars, than “climate change.”

Anyone who believes in the notion of CO2-induced climate change is willfully ignorant of observed science. Anyone who believes that it is “big oil” reaping billions as they destroy the climate is reality challenged. The opposite is the case, as big energy colludes with government and big green groups to profit from climate change at the expense of taxpayers.

The recent questionable judgment associated with the operation and administration of the Pacific Carbon Trust should be all we need to demand the government get out of the climate change business. The PCT was set up as a Crown corporation, expressly to use taxpayer money to buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are like papal indulgences, absolving corporations’ sins of “emitting carbon” on one hand, by financing “carbon reduction” projects that “offset” carbon dioxide being emitted on the other. These projects can include forests, or grassland.

That’s how it is supposed to work. Like everything else we allow government to do that is beyond its authority to do, the PCT doesn’t work as intended. Whenever huge sums of taxpayer money are made available, corporate rent seekers and bureaucratic entrepreneurs flock to the trough to get their share.

Marketed as a “market” solution to the imaginary problem of CO2, the government was convinced by the rent seekers to “seed” the PCT with “marketable” offsets. There needed to be money in the trust for investment in projects that would make up the offsets.

The B.C. government is PCT’s biggest customer, mandating all government departments to divert precious resources meant to deliver programs, to the purchase of “offsets” from the PCT. In 2010, B.C. schools spent $4.4 million of taxpayer’s dollars purchasing offsets from the taxpayer-funded PCT. Teachers were laid off as a result, but no less carbon dioxide was emitted.

Flush with public money, PCT priced carbon dioxide at $25/tonne to schools and hospitals, and then went looking for projects that would hypothetically offset the carbon hypothetically emitted by those evil schools and hospitals. Not surprisingly, they found some.

The Darkwoods project is a tract of private forest in the West Kootenay that was assembled by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, purportedly for “conservation”. Fortuitously, Darkwoods fits the PCT’s idea of a “carbon sink” and thus provides offsets to sell to the PCT.

The PCT doesn’t like anyone to know the market price of carbon — all other carbon exchanges in the world have collapsed as a result of fraudulent activity — but we know it charges schools $25/tonne, and based on the information available from NCC, the Darkwoods offsets the price of carbon at about $5.70/tonne. On this basis, B.C. taxpayers are paying about four times the PCT market price to achieve the dubious goal of “carbon neutrality”.

The PCT handed nearly $4.5 million of taxpayer money to the NCC for carbon offsets. This for a Darkwoods project that the NCC would have, we are told, completed in the name of forest conservation regardless.

The climate changes over time. We did warm up by about 0.5 C in the 1990s. Currently, global temperature, to the extent it can be measured, is dropping. Carbon dioxide has little, if anything, to do with temperature. No amount of government policy will change that fact.

Canute knew his limitations; today’s politicians, regardless of party, do not — but their friends in big business and big green grow rich while schools and hospitals make do.



Mark Walker is the publisher of the Penticton Western News.



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