1 May 2017 | West Coast Environmental Law

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May 2017

Wading into the science on sea level rise – BC lags behind

18 May, 2017

If you’ve been following BC’s sea-level woes extra closely, you’ll know that planning for a sea-level increase of “1 metre by 2100” has become a kind of mantra for local governments and others responsible for planning and readying our communities. While a one metre increase in sea-level rise may seem substantial, we’re worried that the figure is out of date and ignores more recent science and the benefits of a precautionary, risk management approach.

 

Coastal cities like Vancouver are particularly vulnerable when it comes to sea level rise. (Photo: Scott Kirk)

What’s your vision for Canada’s ocean in 2020?

18 May, 2017

Oceans Day 2017 is approaching, and like many Canadians, we think it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the seas. To pump up the excitement for West Coast’s marine program and for Oceans Day this year, we’re launching our #Oceans20 initiative.

Oceans Day 2017 is approaching, and like many Canadians, we think it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the seas. To pump up the excitement for West Coast’s marine program and for Oceans Day this year, we’re launching our #Oceans20 initiative.

We chose the name “Oceans20” for a few reasons:

Why the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is worth celebrating

17 May, 2017

On May 12, 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, for first reading in Parliament. You could say that the Act has been almost half a century in the making. So, is it a win? Keeping in mind the old adage, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” we say yes, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is definitely worth supporting, and celebrating.

This law cements the court victory against Enbridge Northern Gateway and the federal government’s reversal of the project approval last year. With that said, Bill C-48 could be strengthened and there are still opportunities to engage with the Bill through the Parliamentary process.

#BCElxn2017 is good news for the environment

10 May, 2017

There will be a lot of discussion for weeks, maybe months, about who won the 2017 BC election (and who lost). But regardless of which party won, we think we can say that the environment is a big winner.

Yawn.  Late last night, I watched the election results come in during a nail-biter of an election, and tried (eventually successfully) to get my 11-year old daughter – an ardent Green Party supporter – to go to sleep. 

What does it mean for Chevron when glaciers have the right to sue?

3 May, 2017

Last month, several major natural features were recognized – by governments and courts – as legal persons. First, the New Zealand government enacted a new law declaring the Whanganui River a legal person. A couple of days later, the Uttarakhand High Court, in India, granted personhood to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. And shortly thereafter the same Indian Court made a further order granting personhood to all of the rivers, glaciers, forests and other natural features of the Himalayas.  

We’ve written about the possibility of lawsuits by climate impacted communities against fossil fuel companies for their contribution to climate change, but this raises the fascinating possibility that India’s glaciers – or the Whanganui River or other natural features – could be the plaintiff in a climate lawsuit.


The Gangotri Glacier in India, which was recently granted legal personhood. (Photo: Prashant Menon)