Background of the organization
West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) is a non-profit group of environmental lawyers and strategists dedicated to safeguarding the environment through law. Since 1974, WCEL has successfully worked with communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and all levels of government, including First Nations governments, to develop proactive legal solutions to protect and sustain the environment.
The Climate Law in our Hands project supports communities in identifying local climate
risks and demanding that global fossil fuel companies pay a share of those costs. As of June 2020, 22 municipal councils have sent climate accountability letters to fossil fuel companies and more have used a WCEL toolkit to estimate the costs of climate change for their communities. With this funding, WCEL will adapt the toolkit for Indigenous communities in the northern and interior regions of BC, in collaboration with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. WCEL will also provide training to organizations in Ontario to apply a similar approach. This project is part of a broader international campaign to introduce climate litigation that forces companies to cover a share of climate costs, based on the legal precedent that obliged tobacco companies to pay for a share of the health care costs of smoking.