A group of B.C. towns want to sue Big Oil over the climate crisis

A coalition of British Columbians are organizing their municipalities to take oil and gas companies to court over the costs of the climate crisis.


Date: August 31, 2023
Complete Article: Breach Media

This article explains the history of the province-wide Sue Big Oil campaign, including the activities of our local Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil team. It’s a great read if you’re wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing, and whether we have a chance at success.


For decades, oil and companies have fuelled global warming, while ordinary people have footed the bill for millions in damages from climate change-fuelled extreme weather disasters.

Now, Canadians like Allen and Boisvert want those companies to pay.

Their organizing is part of a province-wide campaign called “Sue Big Oil,” driven by a fledgling coalition of activists and organizations who are signing on towns to commit to mobilize for a class action lawsuit.

A successful class action lawsuit could mean a transformation in how cities access funds to rebuild after extreme weather events like forest fires, road washouts, heat domes and drought. The campaign’s organizers are also aiming to shift where Canada puts the blame for climate breakdown—squarely onto the shoulders of big oil.

Private international law provides an opening for governments to take action against fossil fuel companies.

“There’s case law saying if someone’s contribution to pollution is detectable, if it’s significant enough, they can be sued for it,” Gage, who was the co-author of a report on the subject in 2015, told The Breach.

“Now apply that to climate change. If your emissions are global, you’re clearly large enough that you could be sued for a share of the costs.”

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