Greater Victoria school board declares climate emergency

The Greater Victoria school board has declared a climate emergency, making it possibly the first school board in the country to do so.

The move had already been approved unanimously at the committee level.

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Declaration of the climate emergency comes with direction to superintendent Shelley Green to develop a climate change action plan, with the aim of enacting measures in line with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The district plan will include strategies for schools to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The board will also encourage other school districts and government agencies to develop plans of their own.

The board’s action was strongly supported by Parents 4 Climate. The group was recently created in response to the efforts of local youth in highlighting climate-change concerns.

On Thursday, Vancouver city council voted in favour of a motion that demands global fossil fuel companies pay their share of costs arising from climate change.

The motion, which passed 7-4, points to a B.C. government report that projects the City of Vancouver will have to spend $1 billion this century to mitigate rising sea levels.

The motion says the city will send letters to 20 of the world’s largest oil, gas and coal companies with its demand.

The city also says it will ask the B.C. and Canadian governments to enact laws to confirm the responsibility of fossil-fuel companies to pay their share of costs.

Vancouver says it is the 24th community in British Columbia to pass such a motion since 2017.

Victoria’s city council has endorsed a similar motion.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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