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Demand Accountability

Whether we know it or not, our communities are facing a rising tide of climate costs – preparing for and dealing with rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires and more. Unless we ask hard questions about who should pay, taxpayers are going to need to pick up the tab.

Meanwhile, the world’s 20 biggest fossil fuel companies have made billions of dollars extracting, processing and marketing their products – leading to almost 30% of the human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today. The operations and products of just 90 entities are responsible for almost two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As long as these and other fossil fuel companies can profit from the fossil fuel economy without paying for the impacts of their products, it’s going to be really hard for the world to tackle climate change. But once communities in BC and elsewhere demand that these companies pay their fair share of climate costs, the industry will finally have an economic incentive to work towards a more sustainable future.

What does climate accountability look like?

At a basic level, climate accountability involves talking about local climate costs and then publicly demanding that global fossil fuel companies take responsibility for their share of those costs. These actions can be carried out by individuals, groups, local and First Nations governments, and other levels of government.

Along with more than 50 other organizations, West Coast is asking BC’s local governments to:

  • Send "Climate Accountability Letters" to the fossil fuel industry asking them to pay their fair share. (Learn more)
  • Consider a joint (class action) lawsuit against fossil fuel companies for local climate costs, thereby establishing the legal rules for claiming compensation for climate costs. (Learn more)

But it’s not only up to local governments. There’s a lot more that can be done – from public education and community organizing to action by First Nations, provincial or national governments. If you’re based in BC and are interested in helping to develop this campaign further, please email us at andrew_gage@wcel.org.