Friday , December 3 2021

Vancouver now merges climate cost recovery from fossil fuel companies


Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart talks during an interview in Vancouver, BC., December 10, 2018.

Nick Procaylo / PNG

City of Vancouver staff investigates the possibility of recovering climate change-related costs from fossil fuels.

City officials have held in camera meetings to review their legal options, Vancouver City Manager announced to the Council Tuesday at the 2019 budget meeting in response to a Council Council's question. And Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart, who made headlines earlier this year for his arrest, accusation and guilty prosecution for his part in a climate protest, said Tuesday he looks forward to hearing from the staff in question.

This follows a campaign for climate impacts that have seen several B.C. municipalities send letters calling for major international oil and gas companies to help pay for municipalities costs in connection with climate change. The campaign organizers, West Coast Environmental Law, say that at least eight of B.C.'s local governments have already sent "climate responsibility" letters and others have voted to do so.

The campaign began to pick up steam 2017 in smaller cities, districts and cities in Vancouver Island, Kootenays and the Sunshine Coast. However, it was extended to national news after Postmedia reported last week that Whistler had sent climate change messages last month to 20 international energy companies, of which at least one Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNRL) is based in Canada. The news followed by CIBC discontinues the energy part of an investment conference planned for Whistler, and the resort commander's new mayor Jack Crompton issues a public statement that expresses his "regret that someone felt unwelcome here".

Andrew Gage of the West Coast Environmental Law said Tuesday that, as far as he was aware, "no other municipality has sent a letter to Canadian companies – for the simple reason that their proportional contribution is very small compared to global companies."

"Our recommendation has always been that they send letters to the 20 largest companies," said Gage, adding that there are no Canadian oil and gas companies among the 20 largest in the world. "So we have no expectation that Vancouver would send a letter to CNRL."

An RCMP official reads a court order to federal green party leader Elizabeth May, occasionally-NDP MP and current Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart before being arrested after joining protesters outside Kindermorgon's plant in Burnaby, BC, Friday, March 23, 2018.



The campaign has recently worked the way south down the ocean to Sky Highway and in Metro Vancouver, as the West Vancouver government sent letters to fossil fuel companies last week, and on Tuesday some Vancouver members showed an interest in bringing the WCEL campaign to the council next year.

Tuesday, as the Vancouver Council discussed the 2019 city budget, Green Coun. Pete Fry Rose and, referring to WCEL's lettering campaign, asked the city staff: "So much of our budget is linked to climate change, resilience, sewage disparities – do we have any idea what climate change is costing us? Is there something we can present as part of our own lettering campaign for fossil fuel companies for responsibility and climate responsibility? "

City Manager Sadhu Johnston said, "Sir Mayor, if I can only speak with the legal question … We have had a discussion about this earlier and we plan to shorten you about the teamwork we have done to review what legal options we have for fossil fuel companies. So we would be happy and suggest we take it in camera. "


Vancouver mayors, councils and staff regularly hold meetings in camera or close to the public to discuss a number of questions, including legal.

In response to questions from Vancouver Sun, Stewart sent an email statement Tuesday saying: "The question of cities seeking fossil fuel costs is something that our employees are investigating. Staff will describe our legal options and obligations and I look forward to that report. "

Each member of the council of Vancouver has, to varying degrees, highlighted the importance of climate action. On Tuesday they unanimously supported one Amendment of the budget for 2019, introduced by Green Coun. Adriane Carr, to target up to $ 5 million within the existing budget against climate-related measures. Around the room, members of all four parties promised Carr's move.

But the issue of WCEL's lettering campaign gives a glimpse of where the Council's dynamics could be broken during the New Year.

Stewart did not comment on one or the other way on the campaign Tuesday. But as Greens Fry expressed interest in the letter writing campaign, OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle and COPE Coun. Jean Swanson also told Vancouver Sun that they considered bringing the business council in 2019.

Just before Stewart was elected Mayor of Vancouver in October, he was in the headlines to take action against climate issues. In March of this year, Stewart, then MEP member of Burnaby South, was arrested in protest against KinderMorgon's expansion project. Stewart was accused of fear of the court, and then in May – one week after the official launch of his mayor campaign in Vancouver – was guilty.

However, it seems that the lettering campaign may not find support from at least some of the five advisory parliamentary advisory councils. NPA Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said: "I understand that in the United States, similar initiatives against fossil fuel companies in cities have been demolished based on courts citing challenges that this would be the privilege of higher state levels. Let's take the opportunity to build and kick a diversified economy in green, IT and other sectors. "

NPA Coun. Rebecca Bligh said Tuesday: "The time in the council is valuable and I'd rather spend it by creating policy measures to stimulate local businesses moving towards a clean economy in a more effective way."

According to the latest reports, we have twelve years to reverse our greenhouse gas emissions, and a letter campaign at global level seems like a slow process with little to no advantage or a result that can positively affect climate measures that I wholeheartedly support. "

West Vancouver's new mayor Mary-Ann Booth supported the lettering campaign at last week's Council meeting, but Booth could not be reached to comment on the issue this weekend and did not respond to emails. Västkokson's communications staff then told The Vancouver Sun that Booth could not comment by phone or email on Monday or Tuesday.

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