Mayor of B.C. ski resort sends letter to energy companies asking them to pay for the effects of climate change



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EDMONTON – The mayor of Whistler, BC, the ski resort near Vancouver and one of the top destinations for international travelers, has written to 20 international energy companies – including two with bases in Canada – asking for money to offset the effects of climate change. the community.

The letter, dated Nov. 15 and signed by Mayor Jack Crompton, calls for companies "to begin taking financial responsibility for the climate damage caused in our community by their products."

"We are writing to ask your company to commit to paying a fair share of the costs of climate change experienced by Whistler. Communities around the world increasingly expect you to take responsibility for their products, "says Crompton's letter. "We look forward to discussing how you will do this."

The list of companies to which Crompton sent the letter includes Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Calgary's PetroChina offices. Other beneficiaries include four Russian companies, including Gazprom, owned by the Russian government, five of the United States, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, and companies based in countries such as Italy, Brazil and France.

In the copy of the letter addressed to CNRL President Tim McKay, Crompton argues that Whistler, with some 12,000 permanent residents – and a few thousand seasonal workers – will bear a heavy burden as a result of climate change. In 2018, the letter said, the city spent $ 1.4 million on "forest fire protection" and predicts that climate modeling means that less snow will fall in the ski area, harming the main local industry.

The CNRL has rejected the Post's request for comment, but talk of the letter has reverberated in central Calgary in recent weeks, eliciting laughter from those working in the oil and gas industry. In the energy publication BOE Report, Terry Etam wrote: "Whistler spends a lot to attract tourists from around the world, perhaps you would like to manifest and declare your responsibility and contribution to increasing CO2 emissions?"

In a statement to the Post – provided in response to an interview request with the mayor – Crompton acknowledged that Whistler "benefits much of the visitors who can travel here because of fossil fuels. "

Most visitors to the city receive three million a year, the letter said, along the Sea to Sky highway, which was extended to the 2010 Winter Games. More than 22,000 cars circulate on the highway every day, according to report of the municipality. And Whistler's 12,000 residents have more than 7,000 registered passenger cars.

"Our goal was not to ignore our own role in climate change, but to encourage change and action on climate change," Crompton said.

Cameron Proctor, chief operating officer of PrairieSky Royalties, a company that manages royal lands, told the Post that they were disappointed with the tone of the letter sent to the CNRL and as a result would not attend a major investor conference CIBC is putting in Whistler in January.

"We believe there is a lot of disinformation energy floating around on Canadian energy," Proctor said. "There is not much we can do today to correct this misinformation … but one thing we can do is to vote with our feet and vote for our wallets."

CNRL spokeswoman Julie Woo confirmed on Friday that they also gave up, but she did not comment further when asked why they had made that decision. Gibson Energy also told the Post that they would no longer attend the conference.

In a video posted on Facebook Thursday night, Crompton said the purpose of the letter was to join a call to action on climate change. "I sincerely regret that no one felt welcome," he said.

Environmental Law of the West Coast, a who helped write letters to other counties, worked with Whistler on the letter and provided mailing addresses for energy companies. Andrew Gage, the company's lawyer, said the goal is to start a conversation about who should pay for the effects of climate change. Other jurisdictions have attempted heavier tactics; San Francisco and Oakland, for example, sued oil companies in a high-profile case that a US federal judge denied earlier this year. That, Gage said, has not yet happened in Canada, but the company is hopeful that this will happen.

"We have increasing costs that communities are facing due to climate change," Gage said. "I think the question is, as we as taxpayers, will we pay for these huge and rising costs?"

The municipality received no response to his letters.

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