BC’s taxpayer-funded climate virtue signaling continues

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The Sue Big Oil project shows how remote the air conditioning industry on Canada’s west coast is from the real world

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Due to a series of unfortunate events, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there is a shortage of affordable food and energy around the world. How and when this will end is unknown. Everyone is affected.

Those who historically suffer the most live in developing countries. But today it affects nations that were once considered progressive and self-sufficient. Energy rationing is already underway across Europe. This winter could be a disaster.

In response, years of anti-fossil fuel policies, initiatives and crusades are being rolled back at an astounding rate. Coal, natural gas and nuclear power are making big comebacks on a scale unimaginable a year ago.

But parts of the planet are oblivious to global events. Like the lower mainland of BC. It was there that the Sue Big Oil initiative, modestly described by proponents as “the birth of a new movement,” was invented.

“We’re going to sue Big Oil,” noted journalist Avi Lewis told us at the opening of the Zoom launch on June 15. “This is a historic moment and you will be able to tell everyone you were here when it began.”

Lewis is the son of the famous New Democrat Stephen Lewis and husband of Naomi Klein, author of several hard-left books such as This Changes Everything – Capitalism Versus the Climate.

First the brilliant idea.

The website reads: “How do we sue Big Oil? The lawsuit against the world’s largest oil companies will ensure British Columbia’s communities and local governments have the resources needed to meet skyrocketing climate costs while ensuring the fossil fuel industry curbs its climate-damaging practices.”

Bank it, BC You’ve already won.

To collect the loot, simply sign the petition, convince local governments to fund and start a class action lawsuit, then sue the oil companies “for a fair share of climate costs.”

Which oil companies? Only those with a “real and substantial connection” to the BC The Sue Big Oil campaign will target “the world’s largest multinational fossil fuel companies” such as Chevron, Shell and Exxon “as they are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions.”

A key player is West Coast environmental law, which serves to use the courts to seek justice for environmental crimes.

On July 20, the Vancouver City Council voted to contribute $660,000 in taxpayers’ money.

With local elections coming up this fall, it’s obviously a good idea to spend everyone else’s money signaling climate virtues.

In 2018, while still an NDP MP, current Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was arrested and convicted of violating a court order at the Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal in Burnaby.

Judging by Kennedy’s continued political success, the attack on oil is a proven vote-winner there.

But the Sue Big Oil project is flawed on several fronts and shows how disconnected Canada’s West Coast air conditioning industry is from the real world.

First, the lawsuit against oil companies is hardly “the birth of a new movement.” US municipalities have been using taxpayers’ money to unsuccessfully sue oil companies for alleged climate damage for years.

In California, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Imperial Beach began filing suits in 2017. A year later, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sued several multinational oil producers, claiming they contributed to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The only cash that has changed hands goes from taxpayers and oil companies to lawyers. When NYC lost its climate damage case, it sued again for misleading consumers. In California, the primary activity is moving between state and federal courts.

Sue Big Oil cites the 2021 court ruling against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands as evidence that this type of litigation works. But that ruling only ordered Shell to cut global emissions faster.

Shell did not pay damages, appealed and subsequently relocated its headquarters to London with the blessing of shareholders.

At the time, Bloomberg News reported: “According to the climatecasechart.com database, there are currently 1,800 climate change-related lawsuits pending in courtrooms around the world.”

Sue Big Oil somewhat exaggerated the novelty of her initiative.

The second disingenuous claim is that if local governments join the crusade, the result will be that “local governments have the resources needed to meet skyrocketing climate costs.”

But for years to come, they’ll just clog the courts with taxpayer-funded lawyers.

The most outrageous claim is that Western multinationals like Chevron, Shell and Exxon Mobil are “responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions”.

These three companies together produce about five million barrels of oil per day, or 5 percent of world production. Canada consumes 1.5 million barrels per day. Based on population, BC’s share is about 200,000, or 0.2 percent of global consumption.

Eight of the top 10 oil producing countries in the world couldn’t find BC on a map. They are Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Iran and Kuwait. None of their producers are being sued.

As billions grapple with the new realities of rising costs and shortages of everything, Sue Big Oil is just another taxpayer-funded job creation project for professional West Coast climate combatants.

© Troy Media

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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David Yager is an oilfield service executive, oil and gas writer, and energy policy analyst. He is the author of From Miracle to Menace: Alberta, A Carbon Story.

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