Want to invoice a culprit in your community for climate damages? Here’s how.
By: Katie Perfitt
Earlier today representatives from the Ministry of Just Transition delivered a giant invoice to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) at their Ottawa office to hold them financially accountable for their role in fuelling the climate crisis.
Of course, this ministry isn’t real, but the idea of a Ministry of Just Transition is exactly the kind of ambitious, solutions-oriented project our government needs to undertake if we have any shot at meeting the climate crisis at the scale and urgency that science and justice demands.
A Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil is an idea whose time has come, and this action was our way of showing Trudeau a common-sense way to fund the Just Transition to clean energy while holding Big Oil accountable for the crisis they’ve fuelled.
Here’s how we did it 👇
PULL TOGETHER YOUR ACTION TEAM
You don’t need a huge team to make this action successful. Even 5-10 people can make for an impactful action. Reach out to your team and share the action planning template so they have a sense of the vision for the action. Decide how you all are going to stay in touch to plan. We used Email, but you should use whatever works best for your group. Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and the Signal app are all ones I’ve used in the past for action planning.
FIGURE OUT YOUR TARGET
Do research to find out if there are any oil and gas company offices in your city or town. It’s likely there’s one nearby if you live near fossil fuel infrastructure, or are in an urban centre. Then, research what their profits were in 2022 (their company website should have financial reports, but a quick Google search can give you the information too!) so that you have that ready for your storytelling. If you can’t find any oil and gas buildings, you can opt to hold your action at the constituency office of your local Member of Parliament because ultimately, they’re the ones who will need to introduce the Windfall Profits Tax.
DECIDE WHAT YOU’RE INVOICING BIG OIL FOR
What climate impacts are your community experiencing? What kinds of solutions should our government get Big Oil to pay for? Make a list. Then, determine the price tags for those impacts and solutions. News articles can sometimes give you this information, or you can reference reports like the ones from the Canadian Climate Institute. It’s estimated that hurricane Fiona caused $700 million dollars in damages, so one of the lines on our invoice read “Damages from hurricane Fiona – $700 million”. Hundreds of people every year are dying from extreme heat in Canada, so another item was funding for one million high-quality air conditioning units for low-income households to make it easier for families during heat waves, at an estimated cost of $750 million dollars ($750 / household). Once you have your costed list of impacts and solutions, fill in your template invoice and send it to the printers. We printed it out and filled in details with a marker, which is also an option.
DIVVY UP THE ACTION ROLES
SPEAKERS – At our action, we had three speakers. The main speaker was our Minister, and the other two were our Labour Rights Director and our Programmes Director. Our Minister of Just Transition was not only the main speaker, but also led the group, and spoke with security too. This person should be familiar with the main messaging and be prepared for different scenarios. The other two speakers volunteered on the spot, and read aloud from a script we drafted beforehand. You can find our action script here, which you’re welcome to use for inspiration. We encouraged everyone to show up in business attire so we looked as official as possible!
STORYTELLERS – I nominated myself to livestream the action on Instagram, so we had a strong social media presence. We also had someone there taking photos and another person taking video. Smartphones take great content, so there is no need to bring in professionals for your action (unless, of course, you can call in a favour!). We also prepared a press advisory that we sent to the media the day before the action and a media release that we sent out after the action with photos and links to our livestream. There are media advisory and release templates you can use here.
SUPPORTERS – We knew we didn’t need a huge audience for the action, but we did have several other people there for support, applauding throughout our action and providing moral support.
ON THE DAY OF
Figure out when and where you’ll meet before your action, and designate someone to lead an action briefing for all participants. Check in with people and make sure they feel confident and comfortable before the action starts. Then, DO THE THING! Don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it. When the action is done, circle up with everyone and see how everyone is feeling, share what went well, and what could have been improved.
Share content about your action on social media using the hashtag #TaxBigOil. Follow up with the media and make sure they have photos and video content of your action.
LET US KNOW HOW IT WENT
Connect with our team and let us know how the action went! Send any content you want amplified to us as well. Reach us at -> firstname.lastname@example.org