Climate Change

BC NDP, guardians of the environment… the corporate environment

The origin story of Stand.earth—previously ForestEthics, successor to Clayoquot Rainforest Coalition—illustrates how little has changed in recent decades. NGOs and concerned citizens are ever the underdogs when competing with governments and wealthy corporations in the fight to protect ancient forests.

The Internet’s Wayback Machine provides the organization’s early history. These excerpts refer to events on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the time Mike Harcourt led an NDP government:

…the thirst for timber had not been quenched, and the chainsaws and grapple yarders were stripping the verdant mountain sides up and down British Columbia’s coast.

The Friends of Clayoquot strained to fight the logging, but they could not keep up or carry on the blockades forever. The fight to protect the legendary coast required more people, but help was on its way.

A massive protest erupted during the summer of 1993 – the largest environmental protests in Canadian history. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested, including grandmothers, students, doctors and people from all walks of life. The ‘War of the Woods’ was the lead story of every news outlet day after day for three months, including in Europe and the US. The plight of the remote paradise of Clayoquot had international attention, but it wasn’t enough to stop the logging...

The coalition discovered that Clayoquot’s forests were being turned into phone books, toilet paper and two by fours. And they held the companies that made these things accountable by letting their customers know what they were doing. The customers were outraged and demanded answers – and a new way forward.

…It took four years from the first protest at a US customer’s storefront, but finally Mac Blo shut down its logging camp in Clayoquot, and instead, offered to work jointly with the local First Nations to come up with a sustainable logging solution that protected intact valleys and called for light-touch sustainable logging in others.

Today Stand.earth has a wider range of interests:

From biodiversity to air, to water quality and climate change, Stand.earth designs and implements strategies that make protecting our planet everyone’s business. Our current campaigns focus on shifting corporate behavior, breaking the human addiction to fossil fuels, and developing the leadership required to catalyze long-term change.

  • Canada climate & energy
  • Communities standing up to oil and gas
  • Forest conservation
  • Fossil-free towns and regions
  • Ocean protection and shipping
  • Corporate climate pollution
  • Climate finance

That work led Stand.earth to release a report in June 2021. Information disclosed about subsidies will not surprise regular readers of IN-SIGHTS.

In March 2021, BC announced sectoral targets, which set 2030 climate pollution reduction targets for each sector of the economy, including a stand-alone target for the oil and gas industry.3 Our analysis of Premier Horgan’s 2021 budget reveals that increasing subsidies to the oil and gas industry will make it all but impossible to rein in carbon emissions and set BC on a path to a net-zero future in 2050.

Even as Canadian governments claim their GHG-reduction policies will wean us off fossil fuels by 2050, they award even the biggest and most profitable oil and gas companies with taxpayer-funded financial benefits. While demand-side policies such as the carbon tax are meant to decrease the production and combustion of fossil fuels, the subsidies enjoyed by Big Oil and Gas do exactly the opposite: they actually promote the production and consumption of the same dirty fuels that are warming the planet beyond all recognition.

In BC, fossil fuel subsidies include provincial tax exemptions, royalty reductions and credits, and direct investments in infrastructure and technology — and they have grown significantly since the BC NDP took over from the Liberals in 2017. Indeed, BC is second only to Alberta in the generosity of subsidies it gives to the fossil fuel industry, mostly to expand the production and export of fracked liquified natural gas (LNG), a dirty fuel source that is both an economic and a climate disaster.

A billion dollars a year is a lot of money to give to Big Oil and Gas every year, but it gets even more troubling when you consider how little it gets back in revenues. Currently, oil and gas activity produces 20 percent of BC’s emissions, but represents just 0.5 percent of jobs in the province and contributes only three percent to provincial GDP.

6 replies »

  1. I am ashamed I was taken in by the NDP. They gave me hope compared to previous governments.
    But I forgot that governments were made to govern and govern us, they did.

    They aren’t meant to help. They aren’t meant to lift up the powerless.
    Govern !
    Control !
    Blind us with false promises, and more false promises.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This IS indeed appalling – & discouraging for those of us actively involved in (& supporting) Stand.in & other NGOs on the frontlines of community activism, which keep us in the loop on govt. activities & motivate members’ actions (via letters to govt., media, petitions, rallies & more) – but it’s not as shocking as the # of ordinary peops who rue their govt’s brazen dearth of decency yet instead of taking action to improve things, remain inert as if they’re helpless in face of govt ‘power’ (!?)..

    What frustrate me is the general ignorance about KEY issues affecting us – even re. democracy itself – which exacerbates this false idea of govt ‘power’ & perpetuates govt corruption/misdeeds – & makes activists’ work harder than it should be..

    Those of us involved & ‘doing our part’ to stay on top of things can see (with help from NGOs/ peops like Mr. Farrell here] just how our Govts fail to do their jobs/ act in our best interests/ represent all citizens etc. AS OUR ‘PUBLIC SERVANTS’!!?

    Yes we apparently live in a democracy here – yet if citizens don’t know their rights/ powers therein, our freedoms go to waste & our voices weaken!? As long as influential people speak of govt. ‘power’ dismissing their voices & ignoring public interest in favor of subsidising polluting industries & giving ecocidal corps. free rein to ruin everyone’s environment/ future prospects/ sustainability etc., Govts are reassured that they can get away with acting as dictators & disregarding public opinion..

    People ARE slowly – too slowly! – waking up to their possible roles in what is (last I learned) an actual ‘democracy’, ie. in which leaders are elected to run things FOR US (in a nutshell: WE = owners/ govt. = mgrs)

    Govts want more power – even take what’s not theirs to rule – & LOVE keeping people ignorant but complacent/happy to be appeased by words alone. And they test their public constantly, with announcements solely meant to pacify them with nice words about their goals/ intents/ promises which they have no actual plan to keep. As long as noone holds them to it, they continue down their same path of destruction as before: enriching themselves & building on their ‘popularity’ so their influence grows..

    I.e. it’s suicide for people to shirk their roles & trust their govt. to act in their best interests automatically, without any effort from them; Esp. today, with govts. as untrustworthy as ever..

    The more people take on their key responsibilities – which only STARTS with being informed by reliable sources of info (& watching mainstream news NO LONGER SUFFICES!!!?) – the more govts have no choice but to buckle down & serve us, not the other way around.. AS they vow to do when taking their oaths of elected office..

    If everyone – esp. Widely-heard MEDIA – were as informed & ‘up on’ things as Mr. Farrell ET AL – & joined their fellow citizens in guiding govts/ spreading awareness/ voicing their concerns – wouldn’t govts be forced to DO THEIR JOBS & FULFILL THEIR PUBLIC CONTRACTS as agreed?

    Or at least, be far less likely to sabotage their bosses, ie. Us? With the added bonus that the ‘good ones’ wouldn’t have to work so hard on the thankless task of keeping everyone in the loop AND raising $$ for the good ones AND motivating the masses to TAKE OFF SOME OF THE LOAD OF ORGANIZING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION in our govts’ decisions about our ecosystems, families, futures, lives..

    (It’s ultimately OURS – & if govt. doesn’t listen when we speak or do what we tell them, WHY would we consider voting for their party ever again – or stop watching their every move like hawks?)

    Next election, I expect more than 17% to BCers to vote – & to elect the ONLY party with the constitution/ values BC needs & wants to PROGRESS beyond our present state of lameness!!?? (Greens? Duh??)

    Surely THAT is obvious to most by now? Else I guess we have to work even harder eh Mr. Farrell? Which would be daunting (if impossible) to say the least..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. the current crooked corrupt bc govt is in bed with all the crooked corrupt corporations fleecing bc of all its natural resources and public wealth–public wealth as in the peace river valley and the site c dam–the current govt along with bc hydro and a multitude of crooked corrupt corporations have literally stolen the peace river valley from all bc peoples and the world not to mention the wildlife they have decimated in the process–there is absolutly no enviromental stewardship in bc—it is rape and pilliage get all you can before there is no more to get and bc does not have any governing body with enough guts to stop the destruction or force higher royalties on what is being taken–give away the water-electricity-oil- gas-rivers-valleys-wildlife-for no returns while the crooked corrupt corporations make billions-i am disgusted with the political enviroment in bc–mark meiers–charlie lk bc

    Liked by 2 people

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