Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Smear And Hold', Day 2...The Real Story Starts To Seep Out.


Yesterday we watched it all happen pretty much in real time....

First, there was the smear of the Auditor General, via the 'leaking' of letters written by folks with skin in the game that had originally been sent to government or quasi-government officials,  over his soon to be released report on the 'Carbon Neutral Initiative'....Then there were whispers about how the report might be held up...Then, a short while later, there was the official announcement that the Speaker of The House was definitely witholding the report's release because of some sort of nefarious 'breach of parliament' that was never explicitly defined.

The thing is, as soon as we noticed the smear yesterday morning we knew that something like this was coming given how predictable the Wizards  have become.

And it should added that this 'Smear and Hold' strategy was aided and abetted by a very willing proMedia right through the entire day, despite the fact that was apparent on the Twittmachine that many of the proMedia folks also sussed out what was going on early in the game.


Now that Day 2 of the strategy has broken, it is good to read Ben Parfitt's take in the Province that puts more flesh on the skeletal bones of what he reckons, with solid supporting evidence, is the real story.

Here's just a bit of Mr. Parfitt's piece, but I recommend you go and read it all:

...As word circulated that the (Auditor General's) report would cast into doubt that the B.C. government had, in fact, made any serious headway in its carbon-neutral commitments, an orchestrated campaign began to discredit what was in the report before it ever saw the light of day.

It is now evident that the organization that spearheaded that campaign was none other than Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT), a Crown corporation set up by the provincial government for the express purpose of buying "carbon offsets" or emission reductions achieved by third parties.

The offsets, sold by the likes of Canadian natural-gas industry giant EnCana Corp., turned out to have been purchased at inflated markups by PCT, using $18.2 million in funds provided to the PCT by cash-strapped B.C. schools, hospitals and the like in order to meet the B.C. government's commitments of a "carbon-neutral" public sector.

Doyle says that he has personally never witnessed anything like it.

"Of all the reports I have issued, never has one been targeted in such an overt manner by vested interests, nor has an audited organization ever broken my confidence, as did the senior managers at PCT by disclosing confidential information to carbon-market developers and brokers," Doyle wrote in the preamble to the report — a report that PCT and others did their level best behind the scenes to discredit...


And I also mentioned yesterday that Bob Simpson was trying to get a handle on how involved one of the letter writers was in the game. It led to a most interesting exchange on the

So...How long will the Smear and Hold (and now follow-up Smear) strategy go on?....Well, the longest long weekend of the year will get started sometime mid-afternoon tomorrow...Right?
Reader Grant G., in the comments to a previous post now tells us that the Globe has a copy of the report...Their piece on the matter is behind their paywall...



Anonymous said...

B.C.’s push for carbon neutrality in public sector falters

Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail
(no paywall for the first 10 articles/month - or something like that)

"The Globe and Mail obtained a copy of the report from other sources."

Hugh said...

PCT is another P3 - Pick the Public's Pocket.

James King said...

From behind the paywall: School boards, hospitals and other public-sector entities in British Columbia are paying far higher prices for carbon offsets than is justified by the market, according to the financial records of the Pacific Carbon Trust.

Data that the Crown agency has long withheld, but which is to be released by government this week, shows that corporations such as TimberWest Forest Co., Encana Corp., and International Forest Products Ltd., have been selling carbon credits to the Pacific Carbon Trust for prices ranging from $9 to $19 a ton.

At the same time, however, public sector agencies have been paying $25 a ton to buy offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust.

The discrepancy has sparked an internal government debate over the fairness of the price structure, and outside of government, it’s raising questions about whether the Pacific Carbon Trust should be scrapped.

From the Globe's article by Mark Hume

James King said...

And there's more: (just the money quotes) also under Hume's byline:
A scathing report by B.C.’s Auditor-General concludes that the provincial government has failed in its efforts to achieve a carbon-neutral public sector.
B.C. has long bragged it was the first government in North America to become carbon neutral by requiring schools, hospitals and other government institutions to spend millions buying carbon offsets to make up for their greenhouse-gas emissions.
Those purchases all had to be made through the Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown agency set up by the government to drive its carbon-neutral program.
But Auditor-General John Doyle – whose report was withheld from release Tuesday by the Speaker of the legislature – says that the Pacific Carbon Trust has been paying too much, often double the free- market price, and that the offsets do little to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Globe and Mail obtained a copy of the report from other sources.
One project examined involved a forest that was not going to be cut because it had been purchased by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Another was a gas project in which the company pursued an energy-saving program it intended to implement anyway.