B.C. joins forces with First Nations to improve climate

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The province of B.C. is inviting First Nations peoples to join the conversation on new, clean-energy opportunities that ultimately will be used to combat climate change through reduced emissions.

The collaboration, deemed the Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities (ICEO) engagement, is designed by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council.

As climate change moves to the forefront of the minds of many, B.C. continues to advance many of its plans to ensure a low-carbon economy, including moving from fuel to clean sources (such as electrification) and analyzing energy efficiency. They’re also particularly interested in increasing accessibility for cleaner energy in remote communities, which is important in including more-isolated First Nations communities.

“The [ICEO] engagement provides an accessible forum for First Nations Peoples around the province to get involved in the important conversations we need to have about our shared clean-energy future,” says Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

“It brings us together in the spirit of reconciliation with this tremendous opportunity to shift to a clean-energy future that addresses the challenges of climate change,” adds Ralston.

A virtual workshop was held on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to raise awareness of the ICEO, discussing how Indigenous peoples may benefit from participating in the engagement. The engagement is also an extension of the process of reconciliation, benefitting from First Nations longstanding respect for nature and the planet.

“First Nations are already leaders in demonstrating how clean energy must be one of the tools that moves us towards economic reconciliation with the Province of B.C. while reducing our carbon emissions and responding to the climate crisis,” says Regional Chief Terry Teegee for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

“We expect this new initiative will fully support energy sovereignty for our communities and ensure that any clean-energy development project recognizes and affirms our inherent and constitutionally protected Title, Rights and Treaty Rights, including the rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

Haley Grinder, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

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