Is it Canada’s turn to hold Big Oil accountable?

Date: October 26, 2023
Complete Article: ExxonKnews

Members of Canada’s parliament last week grilled Suncor Energy CEO Richard Kruger about his company’s commitment — or lack thereof — to the clean energy transition.

Last year, Suncor sold its investments in wind and solar energy to Canadian utilities, claiming the sale would help the company focus more directly on the expansion of its renewable fuels. During the hearing, Kruger told members of parliament that Suncor is investing in ethanol — a so-called green biofuel that research shows is actually a bigger contributor to the climate crisis than pure gasoline — as a renewable fuel.

“The message that we got from Suncor was very clear,” MP Charlie Angus, from Ontario, said following the hearing. “They have no intention of taking responsibility for the damage that they are doing to the planet and no intention of changing course even as our planet is on fire.”

At the grassroots level, calls for climate lawsuits against Big Oil companies have been building in Canada for years. The “Sue Big Oil” campaign, led by the nonprofit group West Coast Environmental Law, has been encouraging municipalities in British Columbia to file a joint lawsuit against fossil fuel companies for climate damages since 2022. Just this week, the District of Squamish became the third municipality in B.C. to sign on to the campaign.

“Any government — whether federal government, provincial government, or local government — that’s not talking about litigation is essentially saying ‘Let’s leave it to our taxpayers to pay for these costs,’” said Andrew Gage [of West Cost Environmental Law].

Door knockers in Gibsons found that about 70% of residents supported oil companies paying their fair share of the costs to respond to climate damages, Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil organizer Dawn Allen told ExxonKnews. That level of support was also confirmed by polling firm Stratcom Strategic Communications, which found that 69% of British Columbians supported suing Big Oil

[Referring to how much the Town of Gibsons had already spent on climate change adaptation over the past couple years, Allen said,] “You’re already paying a lot more right now when responding to climate change damage than you would ever be spending on this lawsuit.”

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