Metropolis of Vancouver employees are investigating the potential of recovering local weather change-related prices from fossil gas corporations.
Metropolis employees have been holding in digicam conferences to evaluate their authorized choices, Vancouver’s metropolis supervisor instructed council Tuesday at their 2019 price range assembly, in response to a councillor’s query. And Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who made headlines earlier this yr for his arrest, cost and responsible plea for his half in a local weather protest, mentioned Tuesday he seems to be ahead to listening to again from employees on the difficulty.
This follows a “local weather accountability” marketing campaign which has seen a number of B.C. municipalities sending letters requesting main worldwide oil and gasoline corporations to assist pay for native governments’ prices related to local weather change. The marketing campaign’s organizers, West Coast Environmental Legislation, say a minimum of eight of B.C.’s native governments have already despatched “local weather accountability” letters, and that others have voted to take action.
The marketing campaign started to select up steam in 2017 in smaller cities, districts and cities of Vancouver Island, the Kootenays and the Sunshine Coast. However it expanded into nationwide information after Postmedia reported final week that Whistler had despatched local weather accountability letters final month to 20 worldwide vitality corporations, a minimum of certainly one of which, Canadian Pure Sources Ltd. (CNRL), relies in Canada. That information was adopted by CIBC cancelling the vitality portion of an funding convention deliberate for Whistler, and the resort municipality’s new Mayor Jack Crompton issuing a public assertion expressing his “remorse that anybody felt unwelcome right here.”
Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Legislation mentioned Tuesday that so far as he was conscious, “no different municipality has despatched letters to Canadian corporations — for the straightforward cause that their proportionate contribution could be very small relative to the worldwide corporations.”
“Our advice has all the time been that they ship letters to the 20 largest corporations,” Gage mentioned, including there aren’t any Canadian oil and gasoline corporations among the many world’s 20 largest. “So we’ve no expectation that Vancouver would ship a letter to CNRL.”
The marketing campaign has extra lately labored its method south down the Sea to Sky Freeway and into Metro Vancouver, as West Vancouver’s authorities despatched letters to fossil gas corporations final week, and on Tuesday, some Vancouver councillors expressed an curiosity in bringing the WCEL marketing campaign to council subsequent yr.
Tuesday, as Vancouver’s council mentioned the 2019 metropolis price range, Inexperienced Coun. Pete Fry rose and, citing the WCEL letter-writing marketing campaign, posed a query to metropolis employees: “A lot of our price range is tied to local weather change, resilience, storm sewer separations — do we’ve any concept what local weather change is costing us? Is that one thing that we might be placing ahead as a part of our personal letter-writing marketing campaign to the fossil gas corporations for accountability and local weather legal responsibility?”
Metropolis supervisor Sadhu Johnston stood and mentioned: “Mr. Mayor, if I’d simply communicate to the authorized query … We’ve got had, previously, in digicam discussions on this, and we’re scheduling one to transient you on the authorized work that we’ve carried out to evaluate what authorized choices we’ve to pursue concerning the fossil gas corporations. So we’d be pleased to, and recommend we take that in digicam.”
Vancouver’s mayor, council and employees frequently maintain conferences in digicam, or closed to the general public, to debate a spread of points, together with authorized ones.
In response to questions from The Vancouver Solar, Stewart despatched an emailed assertion Tuesday saying: “The difficulty of cities in search of prices from the fossil gas business is one thing our employees is investigating. Employees can be outlining our authorized choices and obligations and I sit up for that report.”
Each member of Vancouver’s council has, to various levels, highlighted the significance of local weather motion. On Tuesday, they unanimously supported an modification to the 2019 price range, launched by Inexperienced Coun. Adriane Carr, to direct as much as $5 million inside the current price range in the direction of climate-related measures. Across the room, councillors from all 4 events praised Carr’s movement.
However the query of the WCEL’s letter-writing marketing campaign offers a glimpse of the place council dynamics might break up within the new yr.
Stewart didn’t remark somehow on the marketing campaign Tuesday. However because the Greens’ Fry expressed an curiosity within the letter-writing marketing campaign, OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle and COPE Coun. Jean Swanson additionally instructed The Vancouver Solar they had been contemplating bringing the matter council in 2019.
Shortly earlier than Stewart was elected Mayor of Vancouver in October, he discovered himself within the headlines for taking motion on local weather points. In March of this yr, Stewart, then the NDP Member of Parliament for Burnaby South, was arrested for his half in protests in opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline growth undertaking. Stewart was charged with contempt of court docket, after which in Might — per week after formally launching his marketing campaign for Mayor of Vancouver — pleaded responsible.
However it sounds just like the letter-writing marketing campaign might not discover assist from a minimum of among the NPA’s 5 councillors. NPA Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung mentioned: “It’s my understanding that within the U.S., comparable initiatives in opposition to fossil gas corporations by cities have been struck down based mostly on courts citing challenges that this could be jurisdiction of upper ranges of presidency. Let’s take the chance to construct and spark a diversified financial system in inexperienced, IT and different sectors.”
NPA Coun. Rebecca Bligh mentioned Tuesday: “Time in council is effective and I’d relatively spend it discovering methods by way of coverage creation to incentivize native companies who’re transferring towards a clear financial system in a extra impactful method.”
In line with latest experiences we’ve twelve years to show round our greenhouse gasoline emissions, and a letter-writing marketing campaign at a worldwide degree looks like a sluggish course of with little to no profit or end result that might positively influence local weather motion of which I wholeheartedly assist.”
West Vancouver’s new Mayor, Mary-Ann Sales space, supported the letter-writing marketing campaign ultimately week’s council assembly, however Sales space couldn’t be reached for touch upon the difficulty over the weekend and didn’t reply to emails. West Vancouver’s communications employees subsequently instructed The Vancouver Solar that Sales space was additionally not capable of present a remark by telephone or electronic mail on Monday or Tuesday.