Tuvalu becomes second nation state to call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
by Fossil Fuel Treaty Initiative
8 Nov. 2022
Today, Tuvalu has united with their Pacific neighbours Vanuatu in calling on other nation states to develop a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a proposed international mechanism to effectively regulate fossil fuel production and pave a clear, fair pathway for a shift to renewables in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC.
During his formal address at the UN Climate Talks in Egypt, Prime Minister Kausea Natano took the main plenary stage and stated: “We all know that the leading cause of the climate crisis is fossil fuels. Tuvalu has joined Vanuatu and other nations in calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to steer our development model to pursue renewables and a just transition away from fossil fuels.”
Tuvalu’s support for the proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty joins a wave of recent momentum behind the proposal which was endorsed by the European Parliament, the Vatican and the World Health Organisation in recent months.
As Tuvalu faces the prospect of their islands disappearing, the Prime Minister’s speech comes with the backdrop of loss and damage being a central issue for the COP27 climate negotiations, one that experts expect to only escalate with every fraction of warming. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of this loss and damage, with coal, oil and gas fueling 86% of the CO2 emissions in the past decade.
Tzeporah Berman, Chair of the Fossil Fuel Treaty Initiative said “Vanuatu and Tuvalu are the first countries to call for a new Treaty as a companion to the Paris Agreement to align oil, gas and coal production with a global carbon budget. We will look back on this in history as the moment of reckoning with overproduction that is locking in further emissions and holding us back from bending the curve”.
Harjeet Singh, Political Lead, Climate Action Network International, said: “Big ocean states have provided so much leadership to international policy-making. Big ocean states pushed for the 1.5C target, they’ve pushed for loss and damage, and now they’re pushing for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. This is the next necessary step in international climate policy for climate justice.”
However, the world is on track to produce more than double the fossil fuels than would be in line with limiting warming to less than 1.5ºC. In this context, significant momentum has built behind the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty as an international mechanism that could complement the Paris Agreement by managing a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas.
Tuvalu’s announcement reflects the Pacific leadership that has been essential to international climate policy for decades, having championed the need for justice and equity within the UN Framework Convention, its Kyoto Protocol, and more recently helping secure 1.5ºC target within the Paris Agreement.
The proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an international framework that would complement the Paris Agreement by regulating fossil fuel production with the aim to (1) stop expansion of any new coal, oil and gas (2) wind down existing fossil fuel production in line with 1.5ºC and (3) support and sufficiently finance a global transition to renewable energy where no worker, community or country is left behind.
In addition to recent support from nation states, the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty has been endorsed by more than 70 cities and subnational governments around the globe, including London, Lima, Los Angeles, Kolkata, Paris and the Hawai’i State Legislature. The three pillars of the proposal have been called for by 101 Nobel laureates, over 500 parliamentarians, 3,000 scientists and academics as well as 1,800 civil society organisations.
Tuvalu’s call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty during COP27 is a next step towards building formal diplomatic support for the proposal. Similar moments were pivotal in the legal pathway towards treaties to manage the threats of nuclear weapons, ozone-depleting chemicals and landmines.
* About the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is spurring international cooperation to end new development of fossil fuels, phase out existing production within the agreed climate limit of 1.5°C and develop plans to support workers, communities and countries dependent on fossil fuels to create secure and healthy livelihoods. Cities such as Vancouver and Barcelona have already endorsed the Treaty with more considering motions to endorse. Hundreds of organisations representing thousands more individuals join the call for world leaders to stop fossil fuel expansion.
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Governments must embrace and enable social movements as key partners
by Clement Voule
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
Faced with multiple and compounding crises, governments must embrace and enable social movements as essential partners as they ‘build back better’, a UN expert said today.
“In a time of unprecedented global crisis, the world needs new approaches and more inclusive governance,” said Clement Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
Voule, who presented his report to the General Assembly said social movements were at the forefront of efforts to foster social engagement, democratic participation and responsive governance. “As drivers of change, these movements have made invaluable contributions to individual, collective and societal wellbeing,” the expert said.
Voule’s report explained that the Occupy movement fought for more egalitarian socioeconomic policies worldwide, while the #MeToo global movement has empowered victims of sexual harassment and increased calls for accountability and the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn attention to racist policies and widespread, systematic abuse around the world. The youth-led Fridays for Future movement has drawn international attention to climate change, the report said.
“Still, too many States are hindering these movements, through restrictive legislation, harassment against their leaders and responding excessively to large-scale protests, including by declaring emergency or martial law,” the UN expert said.
The Special Rapporteur urged States to treat social movements as partners, recognising the essential contributions they make to the functioning of healthy, prosperous and safe societies.
“Now is a time when their potential is needed most to help combat and overcome the many grave challenges the world faces,” Voule told the General Assembly. He said social movements were crucial actors for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable development, and the 2030 Agenda.
“I am deeply concerned by the growing suppression of social movements by both State and non-State actors. Participants in these movements are being targeted and silenced, unlawfully convicted or tortured for their work in support of the construction of more just and egalitarian societies,” Voule said.
The Special Rapporteur urged governments to guarantee the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association at all times and in all contexts in order to foster the essential contribution of social movements to address contemporary challenges.
“States must create a safe and enabling space, develop inclusive policy processes and develop partnerships with such movements in order to enable members of these movements to effectively advocate for change at every level,” Voule said.
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