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City of Vancouver votes to demand fossil fuel companies cover climate change costs

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has been asked by city council to write to large fossil fuel companies and request they contribute to climate change-related costs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver city council has voted in favour of demanding fossil fuel companies pay their share of costs related to the impacts of climate change.

The motion, which passed 7-4, points to a B.C. government report that projects the City of Vancouver will have to spend $1 billion this century to mitigate rising sea levels.

READ MORE: Vancouver could join other B.C. municipalities asking energy sector to cover climate change costs

The motion asks for Mayor Kennedy Stewart to write on behalf of council to “the 20 fossil fuel companies with the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions to ask that they be accountable for their share of climate emergency costs.”

Such letters would echo requests written and sent by several B.C. municipalities, including Victoria, Whistler, West Vancouver and Port Moody, among others, to companies such as Shell and Chevron.

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Energy companies, largely based in Alberta, have voiced opposition to the requests and have even taken retaliatory action against municipalities.

Most notably, several oil and gas companies pulled out of a major investor conference in Whistler after the village sent a request to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

WATCH (Dec. 14, 2018): Backlash over Whistler mayor’s climate change letter

Click to play video: 'Backlash over Whistler mayor’s climate change letter' Backlash over Whistler mayor’s climate change letter
Backlash over Whistler mayor’s climate change letter – Dec 14, 2018

Whistler’s mayor later apologized, but the conference went ahead without the energy sector.

In January, Victoria council endorsed a class-action lawsuit against Alberta-based oil and gas companies, asking city staff to track costs related to climate change. That prompted an angry response from some Alberta politicians, including then-premier Rachel Notley, who accused the city of hypocrisy.

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The City of Vancouver also says it will ask the B.C. and Canadian governments to enact laws to confirm the responsibility of fossil fuel companies in paying their share of climate change-related costs.

—With files from Sean Boynton, Kylie Stanton and The Canadian Press

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