Climate Law in our Hands in British Columbia

BC Communities working together can hold the world’s fossil fuel polluters accountable for their role in causing climate change. In doing so, we can force a conversation that those companies have so far avoided – challenging the right of companies to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year selling a product that they know harms our communities and our global atmosphere. If fossil fuel companies were to pay even a fraction of the harm that their products are causing the world’s communities, fossil fuels would not be able to compete against renewable energy, and the fossil fuel cartels would have to invest in climate solutions, instead of climate delay.

3 steps (not necessarily in this order):

 
A first step in demanding accountability is realising that you're entitled to it.

A first step in demanding accountability is realising that you're entitled to it.

Step 1-demand accountability

Asking fossil fuel companies to acknowledge and take responsibility for their role in causing climate change is an act of enfranchisement. These companies like to reassure their shareholders that they will develop all their fossil fuel reserves and make massive profits doing so. But this can only happen if others – our communities – pay for the inevitable consequences. A simple letter or invoice from a community reminding fossil fuel companies that there are consequences to their climate-destroying business model, that they will need to pay their fair share, is a first step in shifting that conversation.

 
Understanding what our communities are losing from climate change is essential in demanding accountability.

Understanding what our communities are losing from climate change is essential in demanding accountability.

Step 2 - Evaluate and plan for climate impacts

In order to demand accountability for the climate harm that our communities are suffering, it’s crucial to understand what that harm is. Your community needs to begin identifying how climate change is, and will, harm you so that you can demand fossil fuel industry accountability. Quantifying the costs that your community is, or should be, incurring to prepare for expected climatic changes is particularly important, as these costs are expected to be the focus of the class action discussed in Step #3.

 
BC's courts could be a powerful venue to hold the global fossil fuel industry accountable.

BC's courts could be a powerful venue to hold the global fossil fuel industry accountable.

Step 3 - Class action

BC’s local governments are ideally placed to come together in a joint lawsuit to claim compensation for the costs of preparing for climate change. By filing a class action lawsuit in the BC Supreme Court, British Columbians can defend our communities and our global atmosphere, sending an international message to the world’s fossil fuel polluters.

Three decades of climate negotiations have not avoided dangerous climate change – because no one has questioned the ability of fossil fuel cartels to make massive profits from products that threaten the world’s communities and atmosphere, and to use those profits to undermine public belief in climate science and to lobby against climate action. British Columbians can defend our communities by demanding that fossil fuel companies take responsibility for their fair share of the world’s fossil fuel pollution.