Sierra Club BC offers the following statement following the B.C. government’s response to SCBC’s legal challenge over its climate plan.
May 4, 2022
The B.C. government has responded to Sierra Club BC’s climate accountability lawsuit we filed with the help of charity law firm Ecojustice. Sadly, instead of accepting responsibility and beginning the urgent work to address the blind spots we have identified, the province is alleging that we are going to court just to get the plans we want. The reality, however, is that several plans for key climate targets laid out in B.C.’s 2019 law simply don’t exist in the province’s 2021 accountability report.
We’re holding them to account in accordance with the letter of the law, as it’s written. There is no doubt from our perspective that B.C.’s climate accountability legislation requires the government to publish plans to make progress towards all of B.C.’s climate targets, but they have failed to produce these plans for 2025, 2040 and 2050. Also non-existent is the crucial plan for the oil and gas industry that shows how B.C. can possibly meet its ambitious 2030 target for this sector, while at the same time continuing to support and subsidize new LNG terminals and more fracking (for more background see our March 31 media release here).
The B.C. government argues that the public cannot hold them accountable in the courts if they fail to meet the requirements of their climate accountability law. But laws written by governments in Canada are routinely subject to public scrutiny in the courts. It’s a cornerstone of our democracy and the rule of law that the public should access the judicial system to demand fairness, transparency, and accountability. Why would B.C.’s climate legislation not be subject to scrutiny by the public through the courts? The disappointing response from the province shows the importance of the courts in ensuring climate accountability.
The latest IPCC reports showed unequivocally that time is running out to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, that further global warming can only be stopped once we have achieved net zero emissions, and pollution must be cut as quickly as possible. We are calling on the B.C. government to come forward with a plan for every target and every sector of the economy, including oil and gas.
We are in a climate emergency and it’s not too late for the B.C. government to deliver on their promise and address the crucial blind spots. Stay tuned as we continue to report updates on the progress of this lawsuit.
For more information on why Sierra Club BC and Ecojustice are going to court over blind spots in B.C.’s climate plans go to our joint March 2022 media release:
Read more about the provincial response in this article: https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/highlights/bcs-climate-laws-should-not-be-overseen-by-courts-claim-court-documents-5322790
IPCC media release: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner/Science Advisor, Sierra Club BC
604-354 5312, firstname.lastname@example.org