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Three key sections of the B.C. audit on carbon neutrality

John Doyle, auditor-general of British Columbia.

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In an audit the Speaker of the B.C. legislature released publicly Wednesday, Auditor-General John Doyle concluded that the provincial government's plan to make the public service carbon neutral was ineffective and the agency it set up had not bought credible carbon offsets.

The Globe and Mail's Mark Hume obtained an advance copy of Mr. Doyle's report, titled An Audit of Carbon Neutral Government, and summarizes three of its key sections below:

1. Opening comments

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"This audit examined two projects which accounted for nearly 70 percent of the offsets purchased by government to achieve their claim of carbon neutrality: the Darkwoods Forest Carbon project in southeastern B.C. and the Encana Underbalanced Drilling project near Fort Nelson. However, this claim of carbon neutrality is not accurate, as neither project provided credible offsets." – B.C. Auditor-General John Doyle, in his opening comments

2. Key findings

We concluded that the provincial government has not met its objective of achieving a carbon neutral public sector.

Pacific Carbon Trust has not purchased credible offsets.

Government is reporting on its efforts to reduce emissions … [but] the PCT has not provided sufficient information in its reporting about the cost and quality of its purchases.

3. The audit concludes with six recommendations

  • The climate Action Secretariat work with public sector organizations to ensure each is pursuing reasonable actions to reduce emissions….
  • The climate Action Secretariat ensure supplementary guidance to the Emission Offsets Regulation be finalized and adhered to.
  • The Pacific Carbon Trust, to better manage offset purchase risks, ensure that the results of its due diligence efforts are satisfactorily analyzed, concluded and documented.
  • The Climate Action Secretariat provide stronger oversight to ensure that the offsets purchased on behalf of government are credible.
  • The Pacific Carbon Trust provide greater transparency about the cost-effectiveness of its purchases.
  • The Climate Action Secretariat and the Pacific Carbon Trust ensure that reporting on carbon neutrality assesses the trade-offs between reducing government emissions and offsetting those emissions through the purchase of offsets.
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