A group of Burnaby residents were celebrating after city council unanimously endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at a meeting on Monday night.
Residents and members of environmental groups such as BROKE and Force of Nature held a rally outside of council chambers before the meeting to urge council to endorse the treaty, which has received support from other cities, including New Westminster.
"We were very pleased to watch the motion pass,” said Burnaby resident Kate McMahon. “The kids were excited to be part of the rally and contribute to something so important. It was disappointing that some of the councillors only saw this motion as symbolic, when there are so many tangible actions that can be done and accelerated at all levels of government. We will continue to support the city in making bold climate action and hope today inspires other municipalities to do the same."
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty includes three components: immediately banning expansions or new fossil fuel projects; sensibly and fairly phasing out existing fossil fuel production; and providing a just transition that protects workers and communities.
Organizers of Monday’s rally said statistics show that 595 people in B.C. died in his summer’s heat-dome event, where temperatures reached a 49.6 Celsius.
Maureen Curran said the biggest uphill battle right now is convincing Canada to take real action on producing and using fossil fuels.
“We know here in B.C. that things have been absolutely tragic the last few months, and this is happening all around the world; it’s not just here. We really cannot afford to stay on this path,” she said. “The good part is that there are other options. We know that people like you have already started to make those changes, and that if we work together, we can do better.”
According to Curran, a treaty is required to ensure Canada and other countries commit to make changes regarding fossil fuels.
“We need something that is going to be binding,” she explained. “The emissions targets they have been setting have all been voluntary and they keep not meeting them.”
- With additional reporting by Theresa McManus