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LETTER: Time to end oil and gas industry’s influence on government

Are you worried about climate change? Me too. Polls increasingly show most of us are. With good reason.

Are you worried about climate change? Me too. Polls increasingly show most of us are. With good reason.

This summer broke every record, everywhere, on everything – heat, drought, wildfires, floods. As Al Gore says, “The daily news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations.”

We are in a climate emergency. And an emergency requires a courageous, rapid response. We must quickly wind down fossil fuels, shift to renewable energy, and accelerate our efforts to reach Net Zero. And we can build a better world by doing just that.

That was the message of climate activists around the globe as they marched in the largest climate strikes since COVID. David Suzuki, with his trademark passion and energy, addressed the Victoria marchers urging everyone who cares about the future to “speak up!”

Scientists tell us extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more intense because of climate change. Global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), mostly carbon dioxide and methane, trapped in Earth’s atmosphere. These emissions come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels. The oil and gas industry’s own research pointed to this in the ‘70s.

Buildings are the largest source of GHGs in most municipalities. Volunteers are speaking at local council meetings across the province asking them to stop building fossil gas infrastructure into new homes. We need to reduce, not increase the emissions that come from buildings.

And yet, when our local leaders gathered in Vancouver at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention they were fed (figuratively and literally) by the oil and gas industry. The sponsorship of this year’s UBCM includes: FortisBC, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Coastal GasLink, and Enbridge.

Well-paid oil and gas industry lobbyists meet all too frequently with our federal and provincial governments. Do we really want our elected representatives lobbied by an industry that is using the playbook of Big Tobacco to influence decision-makers?

I’m hoping our municipal representatives will have the courage to stand up and speak for a carbon-free future that does not include burning oil, gas, or coal. I am hoping they will tell our senior levels of government that we do not want our tax dollars subsidizing an industry that is causing so much harm and suffering.

Canadian citizens recently had their right to a healthy environment enshrined in federal law. Let’s speak up for the future we want, and for those who have no voice in the halls of government.

Karyn Woodland