Corporate Climate Accountability

It’s not often that a whole bunch of climate justice advocates, Indigenous rights activists, environmental lawyers and other experts get together to hang out in the same room for a couple days. So a few members of CJS were excited to participate in the Corporate Climate Justice conference held on unceded Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver, BC on January 19-20. The conference was organized by a number of partners including West Coast Environmental Law and the Corporate Mapping Project, among others, and brought together folks from across western Canada and a few states to discuss their work and some major trends.

There were too many interesting things to distill into a short summary, but we caught a few insightful interviews for the latest episode of From the Ground Up, which you can listen to at the end of this post. We chatted with Anjali Appadurai from WCEL, Brent Nimeck from Reclaiming Alberta’s Future Today (RAFT), Eriel Deranger from Indigenous Climate Action and Bill Carroll from Corporate Mapping.

A few highlights:

  • West Coast Environmental Law shared their Climate Law in Our Hands campaign, through which they encourage municipalities and communities to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their disproportionate contributions to climate change. Communities incur massive costs from climate catastrophes, both in the aftermath and in preparation, and this campaign is meant to ensure that fossil fuel companies pay their fair share of those costs.
  • Indigenous Climate Action is a relatively new organization that is helping Indigenous communities acquire the tools and skills they need to implement the solutions that work for them.
  • The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has worked with lawyers to translate and codify Tsleil-Waututh laws into English, which could be a game-changer for Indigenous law and how it’s interpreted by Canadian courts.
  • Winona LaDuke’s inspiring keynote address touched on her time in Standing Rock and the ongoing battle over Enbridge’s Line 3, which crosses White Earth territory in northern Minnesota. You can listen to the talk here.
  • RAFT shared their vision of a rejuvenated Alberta, based around a massive clean-up of the province’s aging and abandoned fossil fuel infrastructure. Their plan has industry paying to clean up the messes it’s left behind, putting Albertans back to work in reclaiming a widely damaged environment.

These are just a few highlights of many from a wide-ranging weekend. It was not only a great opportunity to get caught up on some high-level developments around climate change accountability (all framed by NYC’s recent announcement divesting its pension fund from fossil fuels and suing five carbon majors for climate damages) but also to get acquainted with some very exciting projects springing up across western Canada. CJS had the opportunity to present about our own upcoming project looking at the future of coal in Saskatchewan, which we’re looking forward to sharing more about soon.

Have a listen to From the Ground Up below to hear from some of the folks behind these projects!

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