LETTER: Taxpayers should not have to pay all the costs of global warming

From reader Julia Roberts

I heard on CBC Radio recently that the World Meteorological Organization is reporting that carbon emissions reached a record high in 2016. This means that, in spite of the Paris Climate Accord and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, emissions are not being reduced. After the floods in the Okanagan last spring, the massive wildfires of this summer, and the violent hurricanes of recent weeks, I find myself worrying whether we will transition away from fossil fuels quickly enough to save our species.

Many years ago I had a chronic illness. One doctor would tell me to exercise more, a magazine article would tell me to avoid certain foods, and friends suggested certain supplements.

None of these things seemed to help. Then my local college offered a workshop on my condition.

In the midst of the workshop, I had an “aha moment.” I needed to do all those things and more to be well. With that realization, I took action and I recovered.

I think climate disruption is causing a very serious chronic illness to Mother Earth. We need to take every possible action to cure her condition from reducing our own emissions in our daily lives, asking our employers to do the same, and petitioning our governments for urgent action to reduce emissions.

I recently learned about an initiative of West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) called Climate Law in Our Hands.

This initiative asks municipalities and regional districts to write to large oil companies asking them to pay their fair share of the damages caused by climate disruption. Taxpayers should not have to pay all the costs of floods and wildfires, while oil companies rake in huge profits.

A second part of the WCEL initiative is for local governments to launch a class action lawsuit against fossil fuel companies, claiming compensation for the actual and expected costs of climate disruption.

I urge all our local governments to participate in the WCEL initiative. It is one more medicine for Mother Earth’s chronic illness.

Julia Roberts

Nelson

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