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Under the provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (GGRTA), which came into force on January 1, 2008, the Ministry of Environment established an emission offsets regulation. The Emission Offsets Regulation came into effect on December 9, 2008. An amendment to the Emission Offsets Regulation was brought into force on December 6, 2010. The unofficial consolidated version of the regulation published by BC Laws is provided here:
The official regulation and regulation amendment can be accessed as separate documents:
The Forest Carbon Offset Protocol was designated by the director on August 12, 2011.
The following protocol applies to waste diversion offset projects and was established by the director on June 16, 2011:
The following order applies to forestry offset projects and was issued by the director on April 26, 2011:
On July 1, 2010 the definition of validation body and verification body changed such that teams made up of an auditor and a qualified professional no longer meet the requirements of the regulation.
The Ministry of Environment has introduced a new amendment, effective December 6, 2010, that refines the definition of a validation body and verification body. The definition now recognizes a person enrolled in a program for accreditation and requires that the person be accredited or enrolled to receive accreditation within the sectoral scope of the project.
The regulation requires that a validation body or verification body must be accredited (or enrolled in a program for accreditation) by a member of the International Accreditation Forum in accordance with relevant ISO standards in the sectoral scope of the project.
An enrolled validation or verification body may conduct work for a maximum period of one year from the date of their earliest signed assurance statement in a given sectoral scope. Following this period the person will require full accreditation to conduct assurance work in that sectoral scope.
The Director maintains an ability to make determinations regarding the qualifications and quality of work of an enrolled validation body or verification body.
Finally, the amendment stipulates that a person may not act as the verification body concerning a project for which the person acted as the validation body.
This regulation is the first addressing the quality of GHG offsets in B.C. The regulation sets out requirements for greenhouse gas reductions and removals from projects or actions to be recognized as emission offsets for the purposes of fulfilling the provincial government's commitment to a carbon-neutral public sector from 2010 onwards.
It follows a criteria approach in which the project proponent makes assertions in project documents which are evaluated by third party validation and verification bodies.
Key requirements to be recognized as offsets under the Act include: GHG reductions must be supported by a verified project report; ownership must have passed to the Pacific Carbon Trust; and the reductions must not have been previously recognized by another GHG reduction program.