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B.C. Greens target misleading fossil fuel ads amidst climate crisis 

April 9, 2024
   5 min read
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For immediate release

April 9, 2024 

VICTORIA, B.C. – Following in the footsteps of the federal NDP, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs and other experts, the B.C. Green Caucus has introduced legislation to protect the public from misleading and deceptive fossil fuel advertisements.

“This bill is a big step to protect both the public and the planet. It shows we won’t accept greenwashing and that we demand transparency,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The BC NDP needs to take a leadership role and stop being influenced by oil and gas lobbyists. It’s time to protect people, not profits.” 

Just as tobacco advertising was banned because of its impacts to human health, it’s time to ban fossil fuel advertising. Deceptive ads like ‘B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions’ are widespread on billboards, buses, and social media across the province. These ads mislead the public about the environmental and health impacts of burning fossil fuels – which leads to 34,000 premature deaths in Canada every year and is the largest contributor to climate change. 

“At a time when we are experiencing severe drought, and expecting another devastating wildfire season, we need governments to stand up to false and misleading advertising from the fossil fuel industry. There has been a long history of oil and gas companies making claims that are not supported by science or facts,” continued MLA Furstenau. 

“There is no place for deceptive and misleading advertising in the province. Oil and gas companies are making claims that don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. This is wrong.” 

A coalition of B.C. residents and environmental groups are taking Fortis, the province’s gas utility, to court for allegedly greenwashing its gas products and misleading consumers about the fuel’s climate impact and affordability. Pathways Alliance is currently being investigated by the federal competition bureau for greenwashing, and a new academic paper found that Pathways Alliance engages in multiple instances of greenwashing.

“The BC NDP must put the health of British Columbians first. Fossil fuel companies should not be allowed to advertise their harmful products or mislead people about the serious risks of their products, which impact the health of the public and the environment,” said MLA Furstenau.  

Quotes

Larry Barzelai, Chair, CAPE-BC

“CAPE-BC strongly supports a ban on fossil fuel advertising in B.C. Fossil fuels contribute directly to increases in asthma, COPD, premature births, and cancers. To protect the health of B.C. residents, we must decrease our exposure to fossil fuels and provide renewable alternatives. The UN warns us that methane is a major contributor to climate change at the same time as B.C. is approving more and more LNG (methane) projects. A ban on fossil fuel advertising would be a good first step in decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and improving the health of BC residents.”

Tara Marsden/Naxginkw, M.A., Wilp Sustainability Director for Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs

“Gitanyow applauds the B.C. Greens for taking this much needed step forward towards climate truth. Where other parties are hiding behind deceptive and misleading advertising and propaganda, the Greens stand alone in their leadership in holding the LNG industry accountable.”

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) has called for a ban on all fossil fuel advertising, emphasizing the health and environmental concerns associated with fossil fuels.
  • Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs have called for the government to address misleading LNG ad campaigns.
  • A recent study published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science reveals that Pathways Alliance engaged in greenwashing and obscured the true impact of carbon pollution.
  • FortisBC faces a lawsuit for allegedly greenwashing their products, drawing attention to the practice of making misleading claims about the environmental benefits of fossil fuel products.
  • On February 6, 2024, the Federal NDP introduced legislation aiming to prohibit fossil fuel advertising, signaling a significant move towards regulating the promotion of fossil fuels.
  • Following this, on March 11, 2024, the BC Greens called for a ban on fossil fuel advertising in British Columbia, further indicating growing pressure against fossil fuel advertising.

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca 

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