Endorse Kevin Washbrook for the Board of the Port of Metro Van

My friend Kevin Washbrook, who is a founding director with Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC) and a long time activist, is campaigning to be a director on the board of the Port of Metro Vancouver. I wholeheartedly endorse him for this position.

I hope you too will endorse Kevin by writing a letter to Port Nominating Committee and the Federal Minister of Transportation. Select Here Endorse Kevin to send a message.

Recently, the Port of Metro Van announced that they were going to expand their coal terminal without a rigorous consultation process. Kevin with others has been shepherding a grass roots campaign, highlighting the lack of consultation on the coal terminals expansion and the consequences that this will have on global warming.

In a “policy note” for Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative with co-author David Green, Kevin noted the following:

“Coal is the “dirtiest” fossil fuel – it produces the most global warming pollution of all fossil fuels when burned to make electricity, and virtually the same amount of pollution when used to make steel. BC is the biggest exporter of coal in Canada. When the emissions from all the coal exported from BC are added up, they are equal to the emissions we produce here at home.”

Here is link to the whole artile that is well worth a read: CCPA Policy Note

The part that really crystallized the issue for me is there is a huge effort by the City of Vancouver to build a more sustainability city and I support this. In my own humble way, I have tried to reduce my own carbon footprint. But my own efforts and the city’s would all amount to nothing if the coal that is in the ground now were mined. Right now the mining industry wants to expand extraction of coal at a time when we know that we dramatically need to reduce the amount of Green House Gases emitted. The short-term gain to the economy with the development of coal does not out way the long-term impact of climate change.

The Port of Metro Van argues that they did a full consultation with the users of the port facilities and this all that their mandate requires. Additionally, the Port stated that the issue of climate change is not within their mandate to consider as a factor in whether the port terminal for coal should be expanded. This wilfully blind corporate double talk is exactly why we need Kevin Washbrook on the Board of the Port of Metro Van.

Here is what Kevin pledges to do if he is on the board:

1. push for thorough and transparent consultation with the residents and municipal governments of all Metro Vancouver communities, prior to any decisions by the Port Authority on major developments, so that regional impacts of these developments can be properly evaluated;
2. call for recognition of Regional Health Authorities as government-level stakeholders in all Port Authority decision making processes;
3. initiate full disclosure of the regional and global health and environmental impacts of major exports, and seek to ensure that those impacts are duly considered in Port decisions;
4. develop a closer working relationship with municipal and regional governments, as well a non-governmental organizations from all sectors of society, so that the region’s concerns and aspirations are fully reflected in the Port Authority’s vision, mission, values, strategic goals and day to day operations;
5. call for an internal review of those powers delegated to Port Authority staff, to ensure that the Board of Directors provides good oversight of Port Authority operations and maintains a strong focus on environmental sustainability and social equity in all its decisions and practices; and
6. work to ensure that the Port Authority strives to meet the entirety of it’s federal mandate, including the requirement that it operate with broad public support in the best interests of Canadians.
We know that we are living in a time of climate change that has resulted from the human activity of burning fossil fuels. If we are going to avoid the calamitous effects of climate change we need to develop a more sustainable economy that reduces CO2 emissions in the atmosphere that we know are causing this problem. What the future economy will look like and be is not entirely clear but given that we know that coal is the major source of green house gases it would make sense that as a global economy we need to find a way of reducing its use.

This is a time for change and to envision our economy and well being in a new way. The expansion of coal exports that cause climate change, at this time when we need to radically rethink an economy based on resource extraction, is morally and fiscally irresponsible.

The Government of BC estimates that over the next 100 years the effects of climate change and rising sea levels will cost $9.5 billion. The cost could be much higher by some estimates. It’s perplexing that Port of Metro Vancouver would have plans to expand coal export facilities at a time when we know that we need to be reducing its use. Coal emits greenhouse gases when it is burned to make steel or to create electricity. The effects of climate change will affect the entire planet.

All residents of BC should have an opportunity to express their concerns about the expansion of the coal export facilities in Metro Vancouver. I am supporting Kevin Washbrook for the Board of the Port of Metro Van because he is a person of exemplary character. I am confident that he would make a significant contribution to the board. He is deeply committed finding the responsible solutions to how Canada will mitigate the cause of climate change while still pursuing a vital and sustainable economy now and for the future of our children and grandchild.

I hope you too will endorse Kevin by writing a letter to Port Nominating Committee and the Federal Minister of Transportation. Select Here Endorse Kevin to send a message.

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