Colwood is fourth Vancouver Island community to demand accountability from fossil fuel companies. Photo:

Colwood is fourth Vancouver Island community to demand accountability from fossil fuel companies. Photo:

Colwood is the fourth municipality on Vancouver Island to demand accountability from fossil fuel companies for local climate impacts.

A unanimous vote from Colwood council Monday night will see a “Climate Accountability Letter” sent to 20 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, asking them to pay a share of the municipality’s climate costs.

Colwood joins Victoria, Saanich and Highlands in voting to send a letter of accountability to fossil fuel businesses.

A poll commissioned by West Coast Environment Law says 75% of British Columbians strongly or somewhat support their local government sending a letter to fossil fuel companies demanding a fair share of climate costs.

“The world’s fossil fuel companies are increasingly hearing from BC communities that their business model doesn’t reflect the true costs of their products,” Staff Counsel and head of West Coast’s Climate Law in our Hands initiative Andrew Gage said in a WCEL media release.

“Colwood, like Victoria, Saanich and Highlands, is looking to Chevron, Exxon and Shell to pay their fair share of the rising costs of climate change.”

Gage says 30 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere are caused by fossil fuels from the operations and products of the 20 companies that will receive the climate accountability letter.

“We can’t just assume that taxpayers will pay the rising tide of climate costs facing our communities,” Climate Law in our Hands Campaigner Anjali Appadurai said in the release.

“Fossil fuel companies continue to make hundreds of billions of dollars extracting oil, gas and coal – and their perceived right to do so must be balanced against their share of responsibility for the harm caused by those products.”

According to WCEL, local governments in the province were contacted by more than 55 organizations across B.C. asking them to write climate accountability letters to the fossil fuel industry.

Communities were also asked to consider a joint class-action lawsuit against fossil fuel companies for a portion of their climate costs, similar to lawsuits launched recently by San Francisco and four other California municipalities.


Andy Neal