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Poll: Strong majority of British Columbians support local governments suing Big Oil, feel they have been impacted by climate change

Monday, August 8, 2022

VANCOUVER/Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories – A new poll released today by the Sue Big Oil campaign finds that 69% of British Columbians support their local government working with other local governments to sue the world’s most polluting oil companies for a share of the costs of climate change. Less than 20% opposed taking this action.

The poll results come just weeks after the City of Vancouver voted to set aside funds for a class action lawsuit to recover a share of its climate costs. The poll also confirmed that 55% of British Columbians believe that they, or people they know, have been harmed by climate change, with a further 18% indicating that they expect harms to occur within the next decade.

“After a year of heat waves, floods and wildfires fueled by fossil fuel pollution, more and more British Columbians recognise the true costs of the climate crisis and the need to sue Big Oil!” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, which is the campaign’s Secretariat. “Just like the lawsuits against the asbestos and tobacco industries, we can hold the oil industry accountable for decades of deception to keep us hooked on fossil fuels, and for selling products that they knew would harm our communities.”

39% of respondents strongly support a local government lawsuit against oil companies, with a further 30% somewhat supporting. Support for suing global oil companies is remarkably consistent, with more than 50% support across all regions of the province and supporters of all BC political parties.

A majority of Vancouverites (62%) support this strategy, and interestingly, support in the rest of the Metro Vancouver region (73%) and the rest of the province, is even higher. Support was slightly lower among rural respondents (60%) than urban (70%) and suburban (70%) respondents.

“We are excited to see significant support for suing Big Oil beyond Vancouver and across the province,” said Fiona Koza, West Coast’s Climate Accountability Strategist. “We are hopeful that local governments, including those facing terrible climate impacts, will see these poll results and realize that there is support across ages, genders, language groups and regions for joining a class action lawsuit to hold polluters accountable for climate costs in BC communities.”

The survey was conducted with 807 BC adult residents from July 7th to July 12th, 2022 as part of Stratcom’s quarterly omnibus survey (BC Syndicated Polling) and was statistically weighted to match the gender, age, region and proportion of Chinese mother tongue as per the 2021 census. Online polls don’t report margin of error, however a similar sized probability sample would have a margin of error of +/ 3.4%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on the poll, click here.

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For more information, visit www.suebigoil.ca or contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2506, agage@wcel.org