LETTER: Cities should tell oil companies to pay climate costs

From reader Tanya Coad

Local city councils in the Kootenays should follow the examples of Victoria, Saanich and the District of the Highlands, who voted nearly unanimously to send a climate accountability letter to 20 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, asking the companies to pay their share of the municipality’s climate costs.

This letter is a powerful legal and symbolic message to the fossil fuel industry. It sets the stage for our municipalities to demand a fair share of the costs we’re already incurring.

Almost all of B.C.’s municipalities are already experiencing climate costs either directly, or by paying to upgrade infrastructure for the expected impacts of climate change.

“Until now the assumption has been the taxpayers will pay 100 per cent of the cost of preparing for climate change even though these companies have made hundreds of billions in profits, while knowing that these fossil fuels gave rise to climate change. That’s just bad economics,” says Vancouver environmental lawyer Andrew Gage.

How do we do it? Nelson, Rossland, Kaslo, Castlegar and all others should claim the legal power and responsibility of our communities to hold these companies accountable.

Tanya Coad

Nelson, BC

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