LETTER: Province must address climate change

The promised examination of fracking excludes GHG emissions and public health risks

Dear Editor:

We are the directors of First Things First Okanagan, a community-based organization dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action on climate change.

The March 2018 Collaborative Report of the Auditors General of Canada shows just how little Canada has curbed GHG emissions since signing the 1992 Kyoto Protocol. Despite setting emission targets scientifically evaluated to be too low to achieve climate control, Canada and B.C. have failed to achieve previous targets and are unlikely to meet existing targets.

According to the Auditors General, B.C has not completed a comprehensive assessment of the risks associated with climate change, nor does it have a clear plan to meet the province’s emission reduction targets.

Given the NDP’s platform and Premier John Horgan’s statements during the campaign and then subsequent election, we felt confident that the provincial government would move quickly, not only to address climate change but also to build a sustainable economy that respected First Nations Rights and Title and recognized the crucial importance of a healthy ecosystem to the economy.

To say that we are disappointed is an understatement. First came the inexplicable decision to complete Site C and now, defying logic related to meeting B.C’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions, the provincial government will continue the Liberals’ plan to develop an LNG industry.

The promised examination of fracking excludes GHG emissions and the public health risks associated with fracking. Leaving out health risks is particularly egregious, given the known health effects of fracking on humans. Many fracking exposed residents of the B.C NE are First Nations who also have treaty concerns. Further, there is no indication of consideration given to environmental impacts of LNG development along the pipeline and tanker routes for the product.

The decisions around LNG beg the question: “Does your government have a vision for a sustainable future for B.C.?” It appears the current government is following the Liberals’ path of supporting high GHG emission initiatives with the inevitable attendant climate change, flooding, wildfire, and environmental degradation.

Premier Horgan, you understand the biosphere cannot support increased GHG emissions. We rely on the leadership of your government to ensure they are adequately curbed.

What is needed is a comprehensive plan that guarantees success in meeting British Columbia’s GHG emission targets.

This plan must, in part, include a carbon tax on all aspects of the LNG process; a fracking study that includes human health effects and an accounting of methane release; subsidies for the clean and job creating solar, wind and thermal technologies but not oil and gas.

Climate change is real and urgent and, respectfully, these actions are but a bare minimum!

Jim Beattie, Jim Corbett, Kathleen Davies Jerry Flamen, Michael Healey, Margaret Holm, Leanne McDonald, Brita Park

First Things First Okanagan board

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