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Making Big Oil pay for climate change – new Act proposed in B.C.

The Council of Canadians proudly joined over 50 environmental, Indigenous, human rights and faith organizations endorsing a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan asking the province to enact a Liability for Climate-Related Harm Act

The legislation, modelled on B.C. laws that define the legal liability of tobacco companies for cigarette deaths, would clarify the legal responsibility of fossil fuel companies for the consequences of their products. It asserts that Shell, Chevron and other global fossil fuel companies need to pay their fair share of the costs B.C. communities experience because of climate change including examples such as wildfires, floods, mountain pine beetle and the costs of raising seawalls.

This push is part of a broader movement to hold Big Oil accountable for the its actions including a similar Act introduced this past April by the Ontario NDP and letters representing 53 local governments in B.C. to 20 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies demanding that they pay their fair share of climate costs.

Meanwhile a number of places including New York City, King County (in Washington State) and San Francisco are in the process of suing fossil fuel companies for climate-related costs.

The Council of Canadians welcomed Anjali Appardurai, Climate Communications & Engagement with West Coast Environmental Law at our recent Annual Conference, to share her experiences working on Climate Law in our Hands, the campaign push behind the municipal letters and newly proposed legislation. In the coming months we will be engaging our chapters in this work.