First Nations Climate Initiative invites British Columbia First Nations input on using liquified natural gas to address global climate change and alleviate poverty

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First Nations leaders want low carbon economy

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First Nations Climate Initiative

Today, the First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI) extended an invitation to all First Nations to meet with them on January 29, 2020 in Prince George to share their vision for a world where global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, where Indigenous communities prosper, and British Columbia leads the way to a low carbon economy that delivers on regional and international commitments to climate change targets.

This unique First Nations Climate Initiative was formed in September of 2019 by the leadership of the Haisla Nation, Lax Kw'alaams Band, Metlakatla First Nation, and the Nisga'a Nation.

"We as leaders are collectively concerned about the significant threat posed by global climate change," said Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor, Metlakatla First Nation. "The Nations see providing leadership on climate and development policies that impact their communities as placing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and reconciliation into action," said Leighton.

First Nations Climate Initiative has held collaborative information sessions with international and local climate change experts together with leaders from government, industry, academia and environmental groups and have drafted a potential scenario where B.C. produces net-zero liquified natural gas which does not add to emissions rather, meets or exceeds provincial greenhouse gas reduction targets. This scenario is consistent with provincial CleanBC objectives, the federal Pan-Canadian Framework, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/International Energy Association scenarios that achieve sub-2-degree Celsius warming of global average temperatures.

"Climate change is real and is being experienced by our people now," said Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith. "We have spent the last five months furthering our understanding of climate change as well as the full lifecycle of liquified natural gas. We heard from experts who confirmed that the internationally-recognized scenarios include natural gas as a transition fuel in order to achieve the international goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius," said Smith.

"Later this week, we will share what we have learned so far and present a draft scenario to First Nations leaders whose communities may be involved in natural gas production, natural gas pipelines or liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities in their traditional territories for their consideration," said Smith. "We encourage First Nations to join us and look forward to the January 29 session in Prince George."

The draft scenario is designed on the basis of information gathered by First Nations Climate Initiative with respect to the following considerations:

  1. Whether liquified natural gas plays a legitimate role in the fight against climate change by switching fuel sources in the most polluting countries to cleaner energy sources like natural gas – thereby reducing greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere
  2. How B.C. can produce liquified natural gas that does not add to provincial emissions and can be considered "net-zero liquified natural gas," thus meeting provincial greenhouse gas reduction targets
  3. What the potential reduction in global greenhouse gases is if net-zero liquified natural gas is used to displace thermal coal power generation in Asia (where there are policies to switch from coal to gas to reduce air pollution)
  4. How much investment is needed in renewable energy infrastructure, ecosystem restoration and technological development, in order to produce net-zero liquified natural gas and where this investment could come from
  5. What the potential opportunities and benefits could be for First Nations communities, including: partnering in liquified natural gas infrastructure development; restoring the ecosystems in their traditional territories (which would act as carbon sinks); and building renewable energy generation and transmission infrastructure, which would result in net-zero liquified natural gas available as a global transition fuel as well as provide renewable energy for a future low carbon economy in B.C.
  6. What provincial and federal policy options are needed to succeed in developing the vision to contribute to global efforts to achieve a 1.5-degree Celsius limit on climate warming immediately and the eventual low carbon economy that supports a future carbon-neutral world. 

"We want B.C. to fully meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and we believe there is a scenario that can do so by 2030," said Eva Clayton, Nisga'a Nation President. "By working collaboratively with Federal and Provincial Governments, other First Nations, energy project developers and environmental organizations we have a significant opportunity to help achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by using B.C. liquified natural gas to displace coal in the most polluting jurisdictions," said Clayton.

Following the meeting with the broader First Nations, First Nations Climate Initiative member Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith will be speaking about the First Nations Climate Initiative vision during her closing keynote on January 30, 2020 at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, one of the largest conferences to explore resource development in B.C.

Lax Kw'alaams Band

Lax Kw'alaams community is located in the northwest coast of B.C., approximately 20 km north of Prince Rupert. The Lax Kw'alaams Band are members of the Nine Tribes of the Coast Tsimshian. The name, Lax Kw'alaams, derives from Laxłgu'alaams, which means 'place of the small roses' in Sm'algyax, the language of the Coast Ts'msyen (Tsimshian). For more information visit: laxkwalaams.ca.

Metlakatla First Nation

Metlakatla village is located 5 km north of Prince Rupert, on an ancient site - occupied for thousands of years. The Metlakatla Band are members of the Nine Tribes of the Coast Tsimshian. Metlakatla means 'saltwater pass' in Sm'algyax, the language of the Coast Ts'msyen (Tsimshian). For more information visit: metlakatla.ca.

Nisga'a Nation

The Nisg̱a'a Nation is represented by Nisg̱a'a Lisims Government (NLG) – a modern, forward thinking administration based on traditional culture and values. The Nisg̱a'a Final Agreement is the first modern treaty in British Columbia to provide constitutional certainty in respect of an Aboriginal people's section 35 right to self-government. Nisg̱a'a Government is comprised of NLG, the four Nisg̱a'a Village Governments of GItlax̱t'aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Lax̱g̱alts'ap and Ging̱olx, and the three Nisg̱a'a Urban Local areas of Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward and Vancouver. For more information visit: nisgaanation.ca.

Haisla Nation

The Haisla, meaning "dwellers downriver," have occupied lands for over 9,000 years. Today, the Haisla people are centered on Kitamaat Village. Kitamaat Village sits at the head of the Douglas Channel in British Columbia. Today's Haisla Nation is an amalgamation of two historic bands – the Kitamaat of the Douglas and Devastation Channels and the Kitlope of the upper Princess Royal Channel and Gardner Canal. For more information visit: Haisla.ca. 

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(Image: First Nations Climate Initiative)
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