SD73 will pay $106,000 in carbon tax
The Kamloops-Thompson School district (No. 73) wants to see its carbon offsets go back into the public sector.
Art McDonald, SD73’s director of facilities and transportation, said the district paid more than $106,000 in carbon offsets in 2010 and expects to dole out about the same this year.
It was part of more than $4-million paid by B.C. school districts to the Pacific Carbon Trust.
That money — including another $14 million from other public institutions — went to subsidize private-sector energy-efficiency projects.
“From our perspective, what’s happening is public-sector money is going to the private sector,” McDonald said.
“That’s fine if you want to charge us offsets, but it should go back into the public sector somewhere. It shouldn’t go to the private sector.”
Recipients of the carbon-tax money included Lafarge Cement, Canfor and EnCana Corporation.
McDonald said the $106,000 figure was arrived at using a government software program, which calculates how many tons of carbon a given organization is producing.
In SD73’s case, McDonald said district staff inputted figures from utility bills, as well as gas and diesel consumption from vehicles.
“The program tells us what the equivalent is in CO2,” he said. “From a high level, the idea is to put a price on pollution.”
McDonald said the school district is about as efficient as it can be, given its current infrastructure.
“We’ve done most of the big stuff we can do [to make things more efficient],” he said, naming lighting changes and HVAC upgrades as major projects already completed.
“It’s not going to go down, but I don’t think it’s going to go up much. Probably the biggest fluctuation is going to be weather.”
McDonald said an extremely cold winter would cause SD73 to spend more on heating, increasing its carbon footprint.
The B.C. School Trustees Association has called for changes to the manner in which the Pacific Carbon Trust allocates its money.