Call for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty


The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative spurs international cooperation to halt new fossil fuel development, 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 healthy and livelihoods. Cities like Vancouver and Barcelona have already approved the treaty with more thoughtful proposals to approve. Hundreds of organizations representing thousands more are joining the call to world leaders to stop the expansion of fossil fuels.

More than two thousand academics from all disciplines and from 81 countries have delivered a letter demanding a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty to handle a global phase-out of coal, oil and gas to governments meeting at the next General Assembly of Nations United (September 14-30, 2021).

In the open letter, academics acknowledge that the burning of coal, oil and gas is the biggest contributor to climate change – responsible for nearly 80% of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution. In addition, they note that “air pollution caused by fossil fuels was responsible for nearly one in five deaths worldwide in 2018”.

Despite this, national governments, including the hosts of COP26 themselves, plan to increase fossil fuel production to levels that would result in around 120% more emissions than what is in line with the target. the Paris Agreement of 1.5 ° C of warming.

For more information on the Initiative, please visit the website, explore the Campaign Center and watch the introductory video.

We, the undersigned, call on governments around the world to adopt and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, as a matter of urgency, to protect the lives and livelihoods of present and future generations through phase-out comprehensive and equitable fossil fuel. in accordance with scientific consensus not to exceed 1.5 ° C warming.

The fossil fuel system and its impacts are global and require a global solution. We call on governments to urgently enter into negotiations to develop, adopt and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty establishing a binding global plan to:

  • End the new extension production of fossil fuels in accordance with the best available scientific data as described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Program;
  • Gradually phase out existing production fossil fuels in a fair and equitable manner, taking into account countries’ respective dependence on fossil fuels and their transitional capacity;
  • Invest in a transformation plan to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally, support fossil fuel dependent economies to diversify away from fossil fuels and enable people and communities around the world to thrive through a just global transition.

The scientific consensus is clear that human activities are primarily responsible for global climate change, and that the climate crisis now poses the greatest threat to human civilization and nature.

The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – is the biggest contributor to climate change, responsible for nearly 80% of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution.

To keep warming below the temperature target of 1.5 ° C, as shown in the scientific literature and the IPCC special report on 1.5 ° C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced. at least 45% less in the world by 2030.

According to the most recent output gap report, this requires an average decline in fossil fuel production of at least 6% per year between 2020-2030. However, the fossil fuel industry plans to to augment production of 2% per year. It is vital that the global transition to a zero carbon world is fair, based on countries’ fair share in expected climate action, their historic contribution to climate change and their capacity to act. This means that richer countries need to reduce their production of fossil fuels at a faster rate than poorer countries which need greater support for the transition, including by redirecting funding and subsidies from fossil fuels. towards renewable energies.

In addition to climate impacts, new research shows that air pollution caused by fossil fuels was responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths worldwide in 2018. These significant impacts on health and the environment stem from the extraction, refining, transportation and combustion of fossil fuels and are often supported by vulnerable and marginalized communities. At the same time, the centralized energy generated by fossil fuels often concentrates power and wealth in the hands of the privileged few, bypassing the communities in which mining takes place.

The current dominant approach to tackling climate change focuses on policies that limit greenhouse gas emissions and demand for fossil fuels, for example by promoting the growth of substitutes for fossil fuels such as renewables and electric vehicles. But little attention has been paid to policies aimed at restricting production and supply fossil fuels at the source.

Yet efforts to reduce the demand for fossil fuels will be compromised if the supply continues to grow. Continued production means either that fossil fuels will continue to be burned for energy – pushing the world towards catastrophic global warming – or that industry and countries dependent on fossil fuels will face enormous stranded assets, stranded workers and stranded economies, as sources of government revenue. on which development and employment in the public sector and essential public services currently depend are evaporating.

As the Paris Agreement lays an important foundation for action on the demand side of the equation, without international cooperation and policy processes focused on fossil fuel supply, countries will continue to exceed their emissions targets. already insufficient.

Given the historically significant contribution of fossil fuels to climate change and the industry’s continued expansion plans, we call for a solution commensurate with the scale of the problem. The gradual reduction of coal, oil and gas to 1.5 ° C requires global cooperation, in a manner that is fair, equitable and reflective of countries’ levels of fossil fuel dependence and their transitional capacities . This, in turn, should be supported by financial resources, including the transfer of technology, to enable a just transition for workers and communities in developing countries and a decent life for all.

In this context, we add our voices to the call of civil society, young leaders, indigenous peoples, religious institutions, cities and subnational governments for a global treaty on fossil fuels. •

For the full list of endorsements, visit

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is a global initiative to phase out fossil fuels faster, equitably and forever.


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