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FNCI forges a path for action to mitigate climate change

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

The First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI), started by the Lax Kw’alaams Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Nisga’a Nation and Haisla Nation, has released a draft policy framework for energy development that meets local and global climate change targets and reduces poverty in First Nations communities by building the infrastructure and innovation that will be the foundation of a low carbon economy in 2050.

The FNCI vision is for a world where global warming is limited to 1.5 - 2°C; Indigenous communities prosper on their own terms; and B.C. shifts to a low carbon economy facilitated in part by net-zero natural gas development. As Canada looks to stimulate the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, FNCI is concerned that the environment will be sacrificed for jobs. Instead, building low-carbon energy infrastructure in northern BC to support the development of domestic net-zero natural gas export facilities can achieve major economic stimulus while also ensuring BC and Canada maintain their commitments to mitigating climate change.

Over the past 6 months, the FNCI has worked with local and international experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), major project developers, policy analysts, think tanks and ENGOs to build a policy framework that can:

  • Attract billions of dollars into renewable energy and electrification infrastructure in BC that will be instrumental to the long-term recovery and transformation of the economy in western Canada.
  • Leverage a short-term opportunity to produce domestic net-zero LNG and other gas exports to enable other jurisdictions currently reliant on GHG intensive fuels such as thermal coal to reduce their GHG emissions by hundreds of millions of tons (BC’s total emissions are 64.5 million t).
  • Strengthen First Nation economic self-determination and enable Indigenous communities to be leaders in developing the low carbon economy.
  • Address the legacy industrial footprint on ecosystems in First Nations’ traditional territories by restoring landscapes to be carbon sinks.
  • Build the energy systems that are necessary for the future low-carbon economy essential to supporting our planet and communities.

Key strategies for producing net-zero in B.C. under the FNCI framework include:

  • Electrifying natural gas infrastructure across northern BC through public and private investment.
  • Investing in nature-based projects that rehabilitate ecosystems to act as carbon sinks while simultaneously restoring First Nations’ traditional territories and providing local employment opportunities.
  • Promoting the use of carbon markets and tax incentives to ensure viable project development costs and ensure competitive gas on the global stage.
  • Pursuing bilateral agreements with jurisdictions that are high GHG emitters and gas importers to ensure the displacement of thermal coal.
  • Supporting producers to reduce fugitive methane from existing and future operations.
  • Using available carbon capture and storage technologies.
  • Establishing options for First Nations equity ownership, partnerships, or other avenues for projects to benefit First Nation communities.

The opportunity is now for First Nations, BC and Canada to launch the Canadian economy into a new set of relationships where mitigating climate change, ending First Nations poverty, and building a low carbon economy are central themes. The FNCI continue to collaborate with First Nations, other levels of government, climate experts, project developers, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders to further refine the policy framework and develop an investment plan that realises the FNCI vision.

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