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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Stewart Muir – Examining the Evidence ... do climate lawsuits serve the interests of municipalities and local residents



Since January, 2017 a campaign has been underway to hold fossil fuel companies financially ‘accountable’ for the effects of a changing climate on BC communities by taking several actions including writing demand letters to the top 20 fossil fuel companies and connecting with other cities to explore options for legal action against such companies.

Through our work, we at Resource Works have given a lot of thought to the idea of lawsuits and demand letters aimed at oil companies. Our climate litigation objective: persuade provincial governments to change the law to allow litigation against fossil fuel companies.

Problem is, there is no sign that this could actually happen. Climate litigation favors conflict over collaboration.

Climate Litigation Strategy for Municipal Councils know that civic officials are continually seeking the best path forward in times of change. This policy brief sets out a few facts about the litigation campaign and proposes a path to address climate concerns while working collaboratively with those who are positioned to contribute to the solution.

The experience of other municipal governments in recent years tells us that an adversarial and legalistic approach will result in a poor outcome – not to mention significant taxpayer-funded legal costs and distraction from more effective solutions. Dividing residents on this issue is one approach, another is to unify residents of the city, the province, and the country around values they share.

Setting aside the adversarial campaigning, and focusing civic efforts on finding ways to work together to address climate impacts, seems the most reasonable and most productive way forward for communities in BC. 

Communities are already doing significant work towards ameliorating the impacts and effects of climate change and these efforts shouldn’t be undermined or minimized to promote more confrontational campaigns.

Local governments in B.C. have to bring climate change into their long-term planning, but suing fossil-fuel companies to recover costs would be a waste of time and money.

To read the full Report CLICK HERE



Resource Works communicates with British Columbians about the importance of the province's resource sectors to their personal well-being. It demonstrates how responsible development of British Columbia's resources creates jobs and incomes throughout the province, both directly and indirectly, while maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

And Resource Works explores the long-term economic future of British Columbia as a place that depends on the responsible development, extraction and transportation of the province's resources.

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