This document outlines West Coast Environmental Law's (See document for all signatories to the submissions) comments and concerns related to the British Columbia Forest Carbon Offset Protocol, Final Draft for Public Review, November 22, 2010 (the “FCOP”). We recognize the leadership of the provincial government to date in taking action on many climate-related issues. We also acknowledge that there is a potential role for offsets among the suite of climate policies that will be required to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in BC and meet provincial GHG targets, and acknowledge the work that has been undertaken by the provincial government to prepare the draft FCOP.
However, any forest based carbon offset initiative must be integrated into an overarching coherent forest policy including targets for both GHG emission reductions and habitat protection, in order to fight global warming and save species that are under increasing risk of extinction or extirpation. Provincial leadership to develop such a policy and effectively address deforestation and forest degradation in BC should be of the highest priority.
Our submission concerning specific aspects of the FCOP and how it can be modified to ensure that it creates incentives to develop high quality forest carbon offsets that protect BC’s forest ecosystems and species, are set out in this document.