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Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation v. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of British Columbia


Side A: Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation (Ngo)


Side B: Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (Individual government)


Core objectives: Whether the government of British Columbia’s 2021 Climate Change Accountability Report issued under the Climate Change Accountability Act meets the requirements under that Act.


Summary
In this case, the petitioner, Sierra Club of BC, is challenging the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s (government of British Columbia) 2021 Climate Change Accountability Report (the “2021 Report”) on the grounds that it did not meet the requirements under the Climate Change Accountability Act. The Act requires the government of British Columbia to publish annual reports on, among other things, its plan to continue progress toward reaching its climate targets set out in the Act. 

Sierra Club of BC is arguing that the Minister’s 2021 Report does not meet the requirements of the Climate Change Accountability Act as it does not include a plan to continue progress toward the 2025, 2040 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets referred to in the Act. Moreover, the petition alleges that the 2021 Report also fails to include a plan to continue progress toward the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set for the oil and gas sector. Sierra Club of BC is asking the British Columbia Supreme Court to quash and set aside the 2021 Report because of an error of law, as it allegedly does not meet the requirements under the Climate Change Accountability Act, and remit the 2021 Report to the Minister for reconsideration. Finally, Sierra Club of BC submits that it has public interest standing and the issue it seeks to raise with the Court is justiciable. Therefore, it submits that it has standing to seek judicial review of the 2021 Report. In its response to the petition, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy submits that the 2021 Report meets the requirements set out under the Climate Change Accountability Act as it contains plans to continue progress toward the emissions reduction targets set out in that Act. 

The Minister alleges that the substance of Sierra Club of BC’s petition is not that the 2021 Report is devoid of plans, but that Sierra Club of BC is not satisfied with the content, detail and/or sufficiency of the plans set out in the 2021 Report. As such, the Minister submits that the petitioner’s challenge to the adequacy of the 2021 Report is not a justiciable issue. Therefore, Sierra Club of BC does not have standing. The Minister also submits that the Court should deny the relief sought by Sierra Club of BC without a full hearing on the merits for unreasonable delay, given that the petition was brought more than 5 months after the 2021 Report was issued. 

Full case documents will be added as they become available. 
from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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