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Richmond students, activists push council to support climate change treaty

Residents and students are expected to gather at city hall on Monday afternoon.
Industrial emissions
Richmond students and residents are endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Richmond community members supporting a global treaty against fossil fuels plan to gather at city hall on Monday afternoon.

This will be the second organized gathering in two consecutive weeks at Richmond City Hall as councillors were thrown with questions regarding vaccine mandates, transparency and the state of democracy at last week’s council meeting.

Richmond students and residents are calling for city council to support the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is on the agenda for Monday’s general purposes committee meeting.

The treaty aims to end new exploration and production of coal, oil and gas, “phase out” existing production of fossil fuels and create a transition solution for workers, communities and countries in the industry.

Naomi Leung, a Richmond student and organizer with Climate Justice UBC, said endorsing the treaty aligns with several of the city’s plans to ensure the public's safety from the negative impact of fossil fuels.

“This endorsement is already in alignment with Richmond’s Community Energy Emissions Plan, its declaration of climate emergency, and its goals to protect its residents,” said Leung.

She added it is clear that burning fossil fuels is causing the climate crisis, and as a result, is leaving the ”marginalized, lower-income people living in cities like our own” to bear the worst of the impacts.

“As youth, we are counting on Richmond City Council to endorse this treaty to call on higher levels of government to protect our loved ones, and to reinvest into a just future.”

Meanwhile, Stephanie Sy, a member of the Richmond Advisory Committee on the Environment, is also supporting the treaty.

“Richmond needs to stand with our neighbouring municipalities; we need to work together now to address the danger of the climate crisis,” said Sy.

“If we don’t, the federal government will continue to build fossil fuel projects right in our communities – an earthquake zone and flammable peat bog – which is asking for more future disasters.”

Expansions, Sy added, of the jet fuel line and Tilbury LNG are examples of fossil fuel projects in and around Richmond.

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is being endorsed by the City of Vancouver, Burnaby New Westminster, West Vancouver and more than 1,000 organizations, 42 cities, and 150,000 individuals, including 101 Nobel Laureates.