We all know that fossil fuels are the root cause of climate crisis, which is why scientists and climate leaders around the world have been telling us that we have to limit their production, use and expansion.
But the Paris Agreement never even uses the words “fossil fuels” and does nothing to reduce their production, use and expansion. The promises made by the Biden Administration and others to reduce pollution are good, but will be meaningless without a global effort to reduce and eventually eliminate fossil fuels.
Therefore, a complementary agreement is needed. Fifty years ago, the world walked back from brink of nuclear armageddon with an international nuclear non proliferation treaty. Today, on the cusp of climate breakdown, the world needs a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels, support a just transition, and ensure 100% access to renewable energy around the world.
In 2016, more than a dozen Pacific Island nations introduced the idea of an international treaty that would ban new coal mining and embrace the 1.5C goal set at in the Paris Climate Accords.
And momentum is building. More than 60 cities and towns have already endorsed the idea. More than 460 local elected leaders from around the world, and the Vatican have endorsed the treaty principles too. Now, we’re on the cusp of a breakthrough.
Last month, the President of Vanuatu, an island nation in the Pacific, made history by calling on the international community to negotiate a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at the UN General Assembly. They were swiftly followed by Timor-Leste, another Pacific Island nation gravely endangered by the climate crisis.
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be a binding international agreement to phase out fossil fuels while supporting dependent economies, workers, and communities to diversify away from fossil fuels. It would ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally and promote a just transition that leaves no one behind. Negotiating and signing a treaty like this is a critical to building a global economy and international relations that can stop climate change.
Now, it’s up to President Biden and his administration to join with frontline nations from the pacific and global south to support a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. And time is a factor — not only because of the climate chaos and deadly impacts of floods, fires, draughts and other climate chaos — but because the next global climate conference, COP 27, starts in a few weeks.
We are stronger together. Sign now, before US officials leave for the COP27 meeting. Add your name and join in solidarity with the Pacific island nations calling for a fossil free future, and a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.