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Calls to Action for Those in What is Currently Vancouver -- Tell City Council to Sue Big Oil!

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

BACKGROUND

On July 20th, 2022, Sue Big Oil had a massive win: Vancouver City Council voted to back the lawsuit against major fossil fuel corporations! City Council voted to allocate one dollar per Vancouver resident to support this future class-action lawsuit back in July. Now we need to make our voices heard by our City Council to ensure this is honoured in the budget.

Without this lawsuit Vancouver and its residents will be paying hundreds of millions of dollars in costs from climate change, while the corporations most responsible for climate change pocket the profits. It’s not fair that Big Oil knew about the science of climate change decades ago but used their wealth and power to lobby for delays in action. And now they refuse to pay their fair share of the resulting costs.


As a city we have already lost 117 Vancouver residents and over 600 across BC during the 2021 heat dome. The city faces hundreds of millions in costs to prepare for a destabilized climate; the current repairs to the seawall alone due to rising sea levels and the 2022 winter storm are estimated to be $300 million.


This is where the work really begins! Currently the City of Vancouver is working on the 2023 budget for the city, and we need to make sure that Big Oil is not let off the hook, leaving Vancouver residents to pay 100% of the costs. Vancouver City Council must fully fund Sue Big Oil by following through on the promise of $1 per resident allocated toward the future class action lawsuit.


ACTION ITEMS

(1) Tell Vancouver City Council loud and clear: keep Sue Big Oil in the budget!

Remind our political leadership that they work for you and that their decisions should always work towards upholding practices and policies that support the health & wellbeing of our communities. Write an email to City Council urging them to retain funding for a climate lawsuit in the budget. The Sue Big Oil team has prepared a package here, containing background information and sample text that you can use to write your message.


(2) Join us on Thursday, March 2nd for a night of calling Vancouver City Council!

Let’s show Vancouver City Council we support Sue Big Oil. Tell Council it’s fiscally irresponsible to pass hundreds of millions of dollars in costs from heat, storms, and rising sea level onto Vancouver residents while letting Big Oil pocket the profits. Make Big Oil pay up!!


We will gather virtually next week so we can share skills on making effective calls to City Council in support of Sue Big Oil and take collective action to keep Sue Big Oil fully funded in the 2023 budget.


When: Thursday, March 2, from 6:00 - 7:00 pm

Where: on Zoom

RSVP HERE


Together we can get this done - see you there!


P.S. As someone who is engaged in the Sue Big Oil campaign in Vancouver, we invite you to join us for a Sue Big Oil party at Robson Square this Friday, February 24, from 7-10pm. This party is co-hosted by Shake Up The Establishment, Sue Big Oil, as well as fellow non-partisan, climate justice youth organization UBC Climate Hub. Please RSVP at this link.





SEND A LETTER, EMAIL

OR SOCIAL MEDIA POST

TO VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL


Address your letter to:

Mayor and Council

City of Vancouver 453 West 12th Ave Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4



Twitter handles: @KenSimCity @RebeccaLeeBligh @christineeboyle @AdrianeCarr @LisaDominato @PtFry @SarahKirby_Yung @MikeKlassen @PeterMeiszner @BrianVMontague @LennyNanZhou


Instagram handles: @KenSimCity @lennynanzhou @peterforvancouver @mikeklassen @sarahkirbyyung @ptfry @lisadominato @christineeboyle @blighrebecca


Talking points that you may wish to include in your letter:

  • Explain who you are and that you are a resident of Vancouver.

  • Describe any climate change impacts you have experienced and/or why you are concerned about climate change.

  • Climate change is already having negative impacts for the City of Vancouver. In recent years, we have experienced a deadly heat wave that killed over 100 Vancouver residents, as well as wildfire smoke, extreme storms and flooding.

  • Vancouver is already paying an estimated $50 million per year for climate costs. Future costs for the City of Vancouver related to sea level rise have been estimated at $1 billion.

  • Vancouver’s municipal government and residents cannot afford the skyrocketing costs of climate change.

  • Vancouver City Council has a choice – for its residents to pay 100% of climate damage and adaptation, or to seek to recover a fair share of those costs from the world’s largest fossil fuel companies.

  • Lawsuits against fossil fuel companies are a fiscally responsible approach to recover a share of climate costs incurred by governments.

  • 28 Canadian law professors have recommended that municipalities pursue this type of lawsuit.

  • In July, Vancouver City Council voted to include $1 per resident in the city’s 2023 budget towards the costs of a class action lawsuit to be brought jointly with other local governments.

  • Council should stand by this commitment. It makes sense.

  • A budget that does not include funds to work with other local governments on a class action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies would put those huge costs back onto taxpayers and letting fossil fuel executives pocket the profits.


Tips for writing emails to City Councillors

1. Include your contact information

This indicates that you are a Vancouver resident.


2. Be concise

Written communication should be no longer than one page. If you have any supporting materials you would like to add, attach them to your email.


3. Be clear

State that your objective is to support keeping funds for climate litigation in the budget. Follow with a brief introduction outlining why we need this report. Keep to the same topic and emphasize two or three major points only.


4. Keep it local and personal

Describe your interest in the issue and any experience you have regarding it. Draw on climate-related impacts you have experienced in Vancouver. Such as wildfire smoke, the 2021 heat wave, the January 2023 winter storm and other extreme weather events.


5. Be assertive and stay on topic

Firmly ask City Councillors to vote to keep $1 per resident in the budget.


6. Be respectful

Do your best to convey your message in a respectful manner, even if you disagree with your Councillor.





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