Diverse coalition calls for a real BC climate emergency plan and an end to fracking
June 28, 2023
On the second anniversary of the deadly heat dome that killed 619 residents in B.C., and as the province faces its worst wildfire season ever, representatives from diverse sectors are united in calling on Premier Eby to halt the expansion of gas fracking and to redouble efforts to drive down provincial greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
This morning, the BC Climate Emergency Campaign and Frack Free BC co-hosted a press conference outside Premier David Eby’s Vancouver constituency office entitled “SOS: Save Our Summers. B.C. Needs a Real Climate Plan and an End to Fracking.”
“Tomorrow is the last day of school for most children. Usually this is a time of celebration, as we set off to enjoy the summer, spend time outdoors, and relax with friends and family,” BCCEC coordinator Emiko Newman said. “But not anymore. Nowadays, many of us approach the arrival of summer with a sense of dread, wondering what calamities await. Increasingly we feel trapped when it’s too hot to stay in, and too smoky to go out. After two years of devastating extreme weather events, we are here to say: We want our summers back!”
Wildfires in B.C. have already consumed more territory than any previous summer, and the fire response has cost the B.C. government over $100 million and counting. And it’s only June. The Donnie Creek fire, burning in the fracking country of northern B.C., is the largest in the province’s history, having already consumed an area nearly twice the size of Metro Vancouver. This single wildfire has already emitted about 76 million tonnes of CO2e, surpassing the 64.6 million tonnes of CO2e that the entire province of B.C. produced in 2020.
Notably, emissions released from wildfires are not included in the province’s annual domestic GHG emissions count, meaning B.C.’s actual emissions are drastically higher than the official count.
Even without including the growing emissions from wildfires, the B.C. government has acknowledged that it is unable to achieve its emission-reductions targets for 2025 and is not on a path to meet its inadequate 2030 target.
In March, the B.C. government approved Cedar LNG and started the permitting process for the Ksi Lisims LNG project. In total, B.C. has six fossil fuel LNG projects in the works, and all are aiming to become operational before 2030.
If all six projects become operational, they would create more than three times the allowable emissions in the province’s climate plan, producing 30.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (Mt CO2e) per year. This is equivalent to burning 34 billion pounds of coal annually, or adding nearly seven million gasoline cars to B.C. streets every year, on repeat, during 30 years of operation, with emissions released directly into B.C. communities.
“For six years, we’ve told the provincial government they can’t make LNG fit within their climate commitments,” said Peter McCartney, climate campaigner with the Wilderness Committee and Frack Free BC. “Now we’re on track to miss our target in 2025 because of a single facility, and they’re planning to construct five more. You cannot have a real plan to respond to the climate emergency and build a brand new fossil fuel industry. It’s time for B.C. to get serious about cutting pollution and develop a plan to end fracking on the timelines science and justice demand.”
Even as the United Nations, IPCC and International Energy Agency make clear that the atmosphere cannot abide any more fossil fuel infrastructure, the government approved a new LNG facility – Cedar LNG; a plant that will produce three metagones of LNG a year, which, when burned, will produce more GHGs than the entire city of Vancouver.
The BC Climate Emergency Campaign’s open letter to the B.C. government, outlining 10 urgent actions to confront the climate crisis, has now been signed by over 530 organizations, representing many diverse sectors and over two million British Columbians.
Even the BC NDP Provincial Council has passed a motion in support of 9 of the 10 actions (all but action #3 calling for an immediate stop to all new fossil fuel infrastructure).
Climate Emergency Unit, Team Lead, Seth Klein
“We need to see the province revamp its climate plans with renewed urgency and ambition. Clean BC – the province’s official climate plan – in its current form, simply does not cut it. Our annual GHG reductions are not on a trajectory that aligns with what science and justice demands. We are not spending and investing what it takes to meet this task. We are not creating ambitious new institutions and programs to drive the rapid transformation that is needed. Our target dates for zero emission housing and vehicles are too far away. And we have not seen a compelling just transition plan for impacted workers and front-line communities.”
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, President, Dr. Melissa Lem
“Every year over 10,000 new homes are tied in to gas lines, directly counteracting the province’s efforts to encourage households to swap to electric heat pumps. This also harms our health at every step along the supply chain, from higher rates of lung disease and birth complications where natural gas is fracked in northeast BC, to a higher risk of asthma in children who live in homes with gas stoves. B.C. is not on a path to meet this moment. Our lack of a viable, coherent climate emergency plan puts our health at risk. That’s why we are issuing this SOS.”
Minister for Climate Justice, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, Rev. Dr. Joyce Parry-Moore
“The Hebrew scriptures have two versions of the Creation Story: one uses the word “dominion” and the second asks humans to “cultivate,” which means to serve. We’ve witnessed the destruction caused by domination; it is time for us to serve!”
Patagonia, Activism Lead, Michaela Rocha
“Patagonia is in business to Save Our Home Planet. We support nature and people, and we aim to use our voice, our business, and our community to do something about the climate crisis. We will continue to support the grassroots movements that are pushing local, provincial, and federal governments to regulate and end fracking in communities across B.C. and Canada. We hope that together we can prioritize purpose over profit and protect our wonderful planet, our only home.”
Earnest Ice Cream, Co-founder and Co-owner, Benjamin Ernst
“Heat domes and air quality warnings from wildfire smoke keep people inside, shutting down our most important season for ice cream sales. Extreme weather like the flooding we saw in 2021 in the Fraser Valley, or the current drought in the Prairies, drives up prices on grain, dairy, and many other crops that we depend on.”
Climate Recentered, Co-founder, Zoha Faisal
“Young people are tired of being told that we will inherit a broken world. We are already here, and we have already felt the consequences of the climate crisis while politicians continue to prioritize their profit and power instead of public health. This world is already ours, and that is why we fight for it.”
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About the BC Climate Emergency Campaign
The BC Climate Emergency Campaign is a group of civil society organizations, anxious about the climate emergency, that are collaborating to increase the ambition of climate policy and action in B.C. In June 2023, the BC NDP Provincial Council unanimously adopted our Campaign’s 10 Actions, with the exception of Action #3 that calls for an immediate stop to all new fossil fuel infrastructure: bcclimateemergency.ca
About Frack Free BC
Frack Free BC is a broad-based alliance made up of allied organizations including NGOs, Indigenous partners, grassroots organizations, community groups, and individuals who are organizing their communities to raise awareness and apply pressure to the government to end fracking in BC.