More than 359 diverse arts, business, community, environment, faith, health, Indigenous, labour, senior, and youth organizations have signed an open letter calling on the BC government to confront the climate emergency by implementing ten urgent climate actions.
Confront the Climate Emergency
AN URGENT CALL TO THE BC GOVERNMENT
Dear Premier Horgan and the Government of BC,
We write on behalf of diverse environmental, Indigenous, labour, health, business, local government, academic, youth, and faith communities who collectively represent well over one million British Columbians.
We call on the BC government to recognize the urgency and alarm that people all over the province are feeling as the climate crisis directly impacts our communities and our health: deadly heat waves, wildfires, drought, floods, crop failure, fisheries collapse, and costly evacuations and infrastructure damage. These climate-related impacts are unprecedented and intensifying. Indigenous peoples stand to be disproportionately impacted by climate events despite successfully taking care of the land since time immemorial.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a ‘code red’ for humanity. The International Energy Agency has called on world governments to immediately stop investments in and approvals of new oil and gas projects.
The provincial government’s CleanBC climate action plan is insufficient to limit warming to 1.5°C and will not keep British Columbians safe from the worst impacts of climate change.
We therefore urge the BC government to develop and implement a transformative climate emergency plan that recognizes the interconnected climate, ecological, and social crises; embeds equity, anti-racism, and social justice at its core; and upholds Indigenous Title and Rights, and Treaty Rights.
To implement the rapid systemic change that is required, we call on the provincial government to demonstrate the leadership necessary to confront the climate emergency, and immediately undertake the following 10 actions:
1. Set binding climate pollution targets based on science and justice
Reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions by ~7.5% per year below 2007 levels. Set binding reduction targets of 15% by 2023; 30% by 2025; 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2040 (below 2007 levels). Review and update targets regularly as climate science evolves.
2. Invest in a thriving, regenerative, zero emissions economy
Invest 2% of BC’s GDP ($6 billion dollars per year) to advance the zero emissions economy and create tens of thousands of good jobs. Spend what it takes to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new economic institutions to get the job done. Ensure that the economic component of Aboriginal Title is recognized through the sharing of benefits and revenues that result.
3. Rapidly wind down all fossil fuel production and use
Immediately stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure including fracking, oil and gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and fossil fuel-derived hydrogen. Rapidly phase out and decommission all existing fossil fuel production and exports.
4. End fossil fuel subsidies and make polluters pay
End all fossil fuel subsidies and financial incentives by 2022. Ensure that those industries that profit from fossil fuel pollution pay their fair share of the resulting climate damage.
5. Leave no one behind
Ensure a just transition for fossil fuel workers, resource-dependent communities, and Indigenous and remote communities impacted by fossil fuel production. It will be critical to collaborate in true partnership with Indigenous peoples in climate action. Prepare our communities for the impacts of the climate crisis to minimize human suffering and infrastructure damage. Support those most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
6. Protect and restore nature
Protect 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030; support and invest in Indigenous-led conservation initiatives; restore natural ecosystems to enhance ecosystem functions and services, preserve biodiversity, increase carbon sequestration, and improve human and ecosystem resilience to climate impacts. Impose an immediate moratorium on the industrial logging of all old growth forests which are critical carbon sinks.
7. Invest in local, organic, regenerative agriculture and food systems
Incentivize carbon storage in soil, restore biodiversity, and ensure food sovereignty and food security across the province. Increase consumption of plant-based foods, and reduce food waste. Support Indigenous communities that wish to maintain traditional food systems and enhance their food security.
8. Accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation
Invest in affordable, accessible, and convenient public transit within and between all communities. Reallocate infrastructure funds from highway expansion to transit and active transportation (cycling, rolling, and walking). Mandate zero emissions for all new light vehicles by 2027, and all medium and heavy duty vehicles by 2030.
9. Accelerate the transition to zero emission buildings
Ban new natural gas connections to all new and existing buildings by end of 2022. Create a Crown Corporation to mobilize the workforce to retrofit all existing buildings and eliminate fossil fuel heating by 2035, and to build new affordable zero emissions buildings.
10. Track and report progress on these actions every year
Embed all of these actions in legislation to ensure accountability, transparency, and inclusion. Establish rolling 5-year carbon budgets that decline over time towards zero emissions by 2040 or sooner.
The climate emergency offers an unprecedented opportunity to generate new, vibrant economic and social wealth as we transform where our energy comes from and how it is used. It offers an opportunity to achieve energy security, ensure food security, develop more sustainable local economies and jobs, transform our buildings, redesign transportation, reduce pollution, improve human health and wellbeing, and enhance our quality of life. The transition from fossil fuels to a zero emissions economy has clear benefits for people and natural ecosystems, and is an opportunity to create a more prosperous, just, and equitable society.
Every person, every business, every industry, and every government has a role to play as we coordinate individual and collective actions to create a thriving, resilient, and regenerative society that respects its interdependence with healthy ecosystems and a safe climate.
British Columbia is positioned to become a visionary world leader and demonstrate that innovative and rapid change is possible as we transition to a zero emissions economy.
We urge you to seize these opportunities, and demonstrate to British Columbians that our government is indeed a true climate leader by implementing the 10 climate emergency actions set out in this letter.
We must act now.
Agriculture / Food production
BC Association of Farmers' Markets
Compassion CSA Peace Circle
Flying Hands Farm / Granny M's
Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society
Mayne Island Brewing Company
Persephone Brewing Company
Rain or Shine Ice Cream
Rising Knead Bakery
Salish Soils Inc.
Salt Spring Coffee
Singing Bowl Granola
Smartbite Snacks Inc.
Snowy Mountain Farm
Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD)
Vancouver Farmers Markets
Arts / Culture
Brackendale Art Gallery
Canadian Media Producers Association (BC Branch)
Claymates Ceramics Studio Inc.
Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice
Hummingbird Music Studio
Indian Summer Arts Society
Joseph Cross Art Studio
Poonie Art Creative
South Cariboo Arts and Culture Society
The Climate Aid Arts Brigade
The Dance Centre
The New Corporation (Documentary)
Women in Film and Television Vancouver
1st Knowledge Bank Ltd
753 Yates Retail Space
Active Impact Investments
Amanda's Bookkeeping Services
Barnacle Strategies Consulting
Blackfish Paddles Ltd
Bydand Wealth Management
Calmura Natural Walls Inc.
Caroline Miege Counselling
Climb On Equipment Ltd
Crowned Vitta LLC
Curio Research Ltd.
Cutts Consulting Ltd
Drinkfill Beverages LTD
Earnest Ice Cream
Ecollaborate Now Consulting
Electric Edge Systems Group Inc.
Free Flow Plumbing Inc
GNAR Inc - Sustainable Home Design
Goodwin Creative Ltd
The Green Bed Store Inc.
Harvey McKinnon Associates
Hemp Save The World
Innovate Geothermal Ltd.
Lush Cosmetics North America
Mobius Books Ltd.
Organized Chaos Professional Coaching
Sea To Sky Cable Cam Inc.
Singular Software Inc.
Smith and Robin Inc.
Socially Responsible Investing Cowichan
Squamish ReBuild Society
Tegan McMartin Photography
That Cleantech Copywriter
The Bean Buggy
The Jumping Slug Community Cyclery
To Be Heard Counselling
TREE WORLD Plant Care Products, Inc.
Trelawny Consulting Group Ltd.
Vedalia Biological Inc.
Viridian Energy Coop
White Label Insights
Abundant Transit BC
Alliance4Democracy (Sunshine Coast)
BC Hydro Ratepayers Association
Council of Canadians (Campbell River Chapter)
Council of Canadians (Comox Valley Chapter )
Council of Canadians (Nelson Chapter)
Council of Canadians (Terrace Chapter)
Council of Canadians (Victoria Chapter)]
Food Stash Foundation
Foundation for Global Community
Friends of Tilbury Working Group
Global Peace Alliance BC Society
Greater Victoria Acting Together
Kaslo Community Action Team
Language Partners BC
Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Green Party Association
Nelson at its Best
Ocean Park Beautification Committee
One Cowichan Education Society
Reed Road Forest Working Group
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)
The Thorn Magazine
Vancouver Food Runners Society
Vancouver Humane Society
Whistler Lakes Conservation Association
Women Transforming Cities
Environment / Climate action
Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary
Alberni Climate Action
Alberni Valley Transition Town Society
Armstrong/Spallumcheen Climate Action
Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards
Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment
Babies for Climate Action (New Westminster)
Babies for Climate Action (Vancouver)
BC Climate Alliance
BC Climate Hubs
BC Sea Wolves
Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria
Bowen Island Conservancy
British Columbia Cycling Coalition
Burnaby Climate Hub
Burnaby Residents Against Kinder MorganExpansion (BROKE)
Canadian Freshwater Alliance
Chase Environmental Action Group
Chemainus Climate Solutions
Citizen’s Climate Lobby (Okanagan Chapter)
Citizens’ Environment Network in Colwood
Citizen’s Oil & Gas Council
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (East Kootenay Chapter)
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Nelson-West Kootenay Chapter)
Climate Action Now!
Climate Emergency Unit
Climate Justice Victoria
Concerned Citizens Bowen
Council of Canadians - Pacific Region
Cowichan Carbon Busters
Cowichan Climate Hub
Cowichan Valley Naturalists
Cranbrook Climate Hub
Creatively United for the Planet
Creston Climate Action Society
David Suzuki Foundation
Denman Island Climate Action Network
First Things First Okanagan
For Our Kids (North Shore)
For Our Kids (Sunshine Coast)
For Our Kids (Vancouver)
Force of Nature (North Shore Community Action Team)
Fraser Valley Climate Action
Gambier Island Conservancy
Georgia Strait Alliance
GOAL12 Sustainable Consumption and Production Society
Green Teams of Canada
Green Technology Education Centre
Kaslo Climate Action Team
Last Stand West Kootenay
Lawyers For Climate Justice
Living Forest Institute Society
Living Oceans Society
Maple Ridge Climate Hub
Mount Work Coalition
My Sea to Sky
Nanaimo Climate Action Hub
North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club
Okanagan Climate Hub
Pacific Wild Alliance
Parents 4 Climate
Planetary Resilience Council of BC
Protect Our Winters Canada
Quadra Island Climate Action Network
Regenerative Bowen Island
Roots on the Roof
Saanich Eco Advocates
Salish Sea Renewable Energy Cooperative
Salt Spring Island Conservancy
Salt Spring Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society
Shuswap Climate Action
Sierra Club BC
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
Slocan Waterfront Society
Smithers Climate Action
Society Promoting Environmental Conservation
Squamish Climate Action Network (Squamish CAN)
Squamish Environment Society
Squamish Food Policy Council (SFPC)
Sunshine Coast Conservation Association
Sunshine Coast Streamkeepers Society
Sustainability Action Group for the Environment
Sustainable Energy Co-op of Gabriola
Transition Salt Spring
View Royal Climate Coalition
Victoria Climate Hub
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
West Coast Climate Action Network (WE-CAN)
West Coast Environmental Law Association
West Kootenay Climate Hub
West Kootenay EcoSociety
Women's Food and Water Initiative
Yellow Point Ecological Society
Zero Waste BC
Ahavat Olam Synagogue
Anglican Diocese of British Columbia
Anglican Diocese of New Westminster
Broad View United Church
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Capital Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Central Okanagan United Church
First Unitarian Church of Victoria
Holy Cross Parish
Holy Cross Anglican Church
Jubilee United Church
KAIROS (BC-Yukon Region)
KAIROS (Salmon Arm)
Mennonite Church BC Indigenous Relations Task Group
Nanaimo Green Faith Circle
Naramata Community Church
North Shore Unitarian Church Environmental Action Team
Oasis United Church Green Up
Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community
Salal & Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community
Salt Spring Island Unitarian Fellowship
Spirit Dance Centre for Spiritual Ecology
Squamish United Church
St. Anselm’s Anglican Church
St. Catherine’s Anglican Church
St. Mary's Anglican United Shared Ministry
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Parish
Sylvan United Church
The Tikkun Olam Co-ordinating Committee of Or Shalom Synagogue
United Church Earth Stewards
Wild Church Kamloops
Wild Church Kelowna
Yasodhara Ashram Society
Health / Social services
BC Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment
BC Family Doctors
BC Psychiatric Association
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Canadian Health Association for Sustainability & Equity (CHASE)
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.
Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health (Kootenay Boundary)
Doctors for Planetary Health (West Coast)
Inner Light Healing Arts
Mental Health and Climate Change Alliance
Nurses and Doctors for Planetary Health (Victoria BC)
Public Health Association of BC
UBC Planetary Healthcare Lab
BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Co-operative Housing Federation of BC
Pacific Park Place Housing Cooperative
Rivers End Housing Cooperative
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
First Nations Summit
RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs)
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
BC Union Workers' Union
British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Douglas College Faculty Association
Greater Victoria Teachers' Association
Federation of Post-Secondary Educators
Kwantlen Faculty Association
New Westminster Teachers’ Union
North Island College Faculty Association
Public Service Alliance of Canada (BC Region)
Teaching Support Staff Union
Vancouver Artists Labour Union Cooperative
Vancouver Community College Faculty Association
Worker Solidarity Network
Outdoor recreation / Tourism
Anchors Aweigh Marine Services
Coastal Current Adventures
Cycle City Tours and Rentals
Deerhorn Creek Outfitters
Out Here Ski & Board Club
Rebels Soccer Club
The Escape Route
TRAILS BC - Trails Society of British Columbia
UNBC Outdoors Club
Research / Education
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, BC Office
Mir Centre for Peace, Selkirk College
Parent Advisory Council of University Highlands Elementary School
Shuswap/Secwépemc Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association (SHEEPSA)
South Park Family School
Teachers for Future Canada
Tree of Life Nature Playschool
University of Victoria Renewable Energy Club
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
Canadian Senior Cohousing Society
Elders Council for Parks in BC
Pacific Park Place Housing Cooperative
Squamish Seniors Society
BC Greens Youth Council
BC Young New Democrats
Douglas Students’ Union
Fridays For Future Vancouver
My Sea to Sky Youth Council
Quest Student Environmental Committee
Shuswap Air Cadets 222 parent committee
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)
Students for Mining Justice
Take a Stand: Youth for Conservation
* Total of 359 signatories last updated on 26th March 2022.
International Energy Agency (2021) Net Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy sector. IEA, Paris.
IPCC (2018) Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. 630 pp.
IPCC (2021) Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.
Ripple WJ et al (2020) World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency. BioScience, Volume 70, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 8–12.
Ripple WJ et al (2021) World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2021. BioScience. Volume 71, Issue 9, September 2021, Pages 894–898.
Saxby T et al (2020) The path to zero carbon municipalities. In: Miller A et al (2020) OceanWatch: Átl’ka7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound Edition 2020. Ocean Wise Research Institute. 388 pp.
Stern N (2021) G7 leadership for sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic recovery and growth: An independent report requested by the UK Prime Minister for the G7. The London School of Economics and Political Science. May 2021. 21 pp.