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Insurance companies factor in climate change, so should NEB, says City

May 16 2014

“It makes no sense for the NEB to ignore the economic impacts of climate change, while insurance companies around the world are adjusting their business models because of it,” said Mayor Robertson.

The City of Vancouver works with the Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program to protect the inlet.

The City of Vancouver filed a motion with the National Energy Board (NEB) to ensure that the economic impacts of climate change are included in the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

This move reflects the material risk climate change poses to economic stability as even global insurance companies have begun to factor climate change into their economic risk assessments.

What is included in the motion

Included in the City’s motion is an affidavit from the City’s Chief Risk Officer. The affidavit provides evidence on how the insurance industry evaluates the exposure of businesses to climate change risks and how these costs are increasingly factored in to insurance rates.

Impacts of climate change

"It makes no sense for the NEB to ignore the economic impacts of climate change, while insurance companies around the world are adjusting their business models because of it,” said Mayor Robertson. “Climate change has significant economic costs that cannot be swept aside when evaluating a pipeline project of this magnitude.

“An analysis of the impacts of Kinder Morgan’s proposal for a seven-fold increase in oil tankers in our waters must take into account the full economic impacts of climate change.”

The City’s statement of facts also includes evidence from Mark Jaccard, a professor at Simon Fraser University with a PhD in energy and economics, as well as former Chair and CEO of the BC Utilities Commissions; and global insurer Swiss Re.

Evidence from Dr. Jaccard references that the Trans Mountain project would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million tonnes over a 35-year period.

“The impacts of climate change are real and must be accounted for,” added Mayor Robertson. “The project will increase the drivers of climate change, but it will be the residents and businesses of Vancouver who will pay the cost. A full economic analysis of this pipeline proposal cannot ignore the risks to our overall economy due to climate change.”

The failure to factor in the economic impacts of climate change is just one of the many issues raised by the City as our role of intervenor in the NEB hearings, and other actions are being initiated by the City in parallel to this motion being filed.

Share your opinions on the Kinder Morgan pipeline

In response to the frustration of stakeholders who have been unable to participate in the process, a motion was passed on May 14 to develop a series of public engagement events. Launching in June, these events will provide the public — including those who were denied access to the NEB hearings — with a forum to share opinions on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal. Kinder Morgan representatives will be invited to participate.

Learn more about the City's participation in the Trans Mountain pipeline