Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Nisga’a and Haisla commit to fight climate change internationally as the four nations sign an MOU while attending the World Indigenous Business Forum in Vancouver. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Nisga’a and Haisla commit to fight climate change internationally as the four nations sign an MOU while attending the World Indigenous Business Forum in Vancouver. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

VIDEO: Four First Nations want to help the world replace coal with B.C. LNG

First Nations launch Northwest Coast First Nations Collaborative Climate Initiative in Vancouver

Four First Nations on B.C.’s North Coast signed a first-of-its-kind agreement on Wednesday to use the province’s liquefied natural gas to fight climate change around the world.

Leaders from the Lax Kw’alaams Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Haisla Nation and Nisga’a Nation announced the launch of the Northwest Coast First Nations Collaborative Climate Initiative while signing of a memorandum of understanding at the World Indigenous Business Forum in Vancouver.

“The reality is that Canada can make a much greater impact on climate change by displacing coal with B.C. LNG in Japan and China than we could if new LNG projects weren’t to proceed,” said Harold Leighton, Metlakatla First Nation chief councillor.

“Our Nations want to support the reduction of [greenhouse gases] as much as possible, and displacing coal with B.C. LNG can make a major contribution.”

They agreed to work together to implement a First Nation climate policy framework at both the provincial and federal levels of government to tackle climate change on a global level.

“Our community members are all concerned about climate change – we see its effects in our own backyards,” said Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Nation.

“We need to make a serious impact. Local initiatives that reduce emissions in B.C. by a few million tonnes per year are worthy goals, but they are not enough. We need to take action locally and globally.”

READ MORE: First Nations, governments sign historic deal for PNW monitoring committee

Burning LNG in power plants produces roughly 40 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

Crystal Smith, Haisla Nation chief councillor, said B.C. could reduce as much as 64 million tonnes of greenhouse gases within one year if coal-fired facilities in Asia were replaced with a single electrified medium-to-large LNG plant.

The leaders also believe some of the credit for lower global greenhouse gas should be transferred to Canada from countries who receive the natural gas through the Internationally Transferable Mitigation Outcomes, as enabled under the Paris Accord.

The agreement also said First Nations will deliver B.C.’s gas products through their territories and businesses under the highest environmental standards while contributing to local nations’ economic self-determination and reducing poverty.


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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