The provincial government has officially said ‘no’ to helping the City of Victoria recover compensation from fossil fuel giants for costs associated with climate change.
In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2019, the City asked the Ministry of the Environment for more legislation on the recovery of municipal costs arising from climate change from major fossil fuel corporations. These costs could include steps taken against volatile weather patterns, drought, wildfires and erosion.
The letter asked the province to consider legislation to help local governments recover these expenses.
On Nov. 30, Environment Minister George Heyman responded on behalf of Premier John Horgan.
“The causes and solutions to climate change are many and complex,” Heyman wrote. “At this time, the province is not considering legislation in relation to the recovery of municipal costs arising from climate change.”
He added that the province has, however, committed to a three-year, $902 million investment into CleanBC, its program to manage climate-related risks and carbon pollution reduction targets.
“We will continue to monitor actions and initiatives in other jurisdictions, including B.C. local governments,” Heyman wrote. “Instead, CleanBC focuses on how we will grow the use of clean and renewable energy in how we get around, heat our homes and fuel our industry with the intent of making things healthier and more affordable for people.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said that while she thoroughly believes fossil fuel subsidies should administered locally rather than provincially, good work can still be achieved without the specific legislation.
“The province is doing so much, and we have a very good relationship with Minister Heyman,” Helps said, adding that the upcoming Victoria 3.0 economic action plan has purposefully been aligned with CleanBC. “I feel confident over the next few years that we will see continued partnerships and continued action from the province.”