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West Coast Reacts: BC’s green COVID recovery commitments welcome, but climate ambition still needed

Thursday, September 17, 2020

VANCOUVER, BC, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories – West Coast Environmental Law Association applauds the environment-related commitments made today by the BC government on COVID-19 recovery funding. To support building a safer, more climate-resilient BC, the organization is also urging the Province to apply a climate lens to all recovery funding announced today and to future budget decisions.

“BC is setting the course today with important steps to build back better, in ways that grow the economy while also reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and ultimately keeping our homes safer from climate change,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel at West Coast. “However, only by making this a top priority can we build a climate-safe future for British Columbians and ensure that recovery funding as a whole advances – not hinders – our environmental goals. This prioritization was not apparent in today’s announcement.”

West Coast was particularly pleased to see increased funding to address the risk of wildfires, as well as funding for communities to become more climate-resilient. Lawyers also welcomed other measures to prepare the province for future climate impacts, such as investments in watershed and habitat restoration.

“The smoke that we are breathing in from U.S. wildfires reminds us that climate change is upon us,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer. “If we don’t prepare for future climate risks, we’re going to see people forced from their homes and massive economic disruption on an ever more regular basis.”

Recovery investments announced today are focused on $1.5 billion in funding already approved in this year’s provincial budget. The environmental lawyers emphasize that Budget 2021 and future investments aimed at rebuilding the economy must prioritize climate change and the steps needed to prepare BC for climate impacts.

“BC needs to think big about the type of future we want to build,” said Clogg. “We need to focus on getting British Columbians back to work after COVID-19, but let’s do so in a way that makes the huge shifts we need towards a green economy that will protect our communities and our children.”

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For more information, please contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer
250-412-9784, agage@wcel.org

Alexis Stoymenoff | Director of Communications
604-684-7378 ext. 228, astoymenoff@wcel.org