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BC consulting on changes to carbon neutral plan

The British Columbia government is consulting on its policy of requiring public bodies to be carbon neutral, said Environment Minister Terry Lake.

"That discussion's still ongoing at this point," he said. "We're consulting with different stakeholders, particularly the public sector organizations that have to be carbon neutral."

The government is also turning to academics for their views, he said.

Public bodies, including health authorities and school boards, are required to buy offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust to make themselves carbon neutral. The PCT then funds private sector projects to reduce emissions.

"I think the concept of carbon neutrality is a good one. It shows leadership," said Lake. Public bodies still need to reduce their emissions, he said, however changes are needed to how they do that and the government is "looking at ways of making sure we address the public concern of public money going into private companies."

Carbon neutrality is a nice sounding concept, said NDP environment critic Rob Fleming.

The government has gone about it wrong, however, he said. "It's an absurd transfer of taxpayers' money which is harming the public sector's ability to green their own operations and giving over to large, wealthy polluters in B.C.."

He added, "The point is really to lower their emissions."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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