With flooding, heatwaves and other extreme weather events dominating the headlines, it is beyond credible denial that the world is in the midst of a rapidly accelerating climate emergency.
The primary cause of this crisis is the extraction and use of fossil fuels – and EIA UK’s Climate team today throws its weight into the international campaign to secure a global Fossil Fuel Treaty.
The campaign, also referred to as the Fossil Fuel-Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative (FFNPT), was started in 2019 to end new fossil fuel production and to phase out existing fossil fuel production, while simultaneously advocating a just transition for all countries.
Fossil fuels are the main reason our planet’s climate system is spiralling out of control. They are responsible for significant quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) across their lifecycles – from extraction at coal mines and oil and gas wells through to combustion in our homes, industries and vehicles.
At present, fossil fuels supply about 80 per cent of the world’s energy and rapid reductions are required if we are to have a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement.
But the world’s governments are instead planning to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than scientists report is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, the globally agreed benchmark for avoiding catastrophic climate change.
At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that global fossil fuel subsidies in 2022 were an incredible $7 trillion.
Clare Perry, EIA’s Climate Campaign Leader, said: “Our planet has just recorded the three hottest months on record — July, July, August — with devastating environmental, economic and social impacts.
“This year has been the hottest, rainiest, stormiest and most erratic to date, with an endless stream of heatwaves, floods and wildfires.
“The science of climate change and its reality on the ground have never made our dire predicament clearer – how can governments continue to obfuscate, delay and deny when they know we are fast approaching a point of no return?”
In joining the global effort to secure a Fossil Fuel Treaty, EIA isseeking to ensure that the new international instrument is based on three key elements:
- Transparency and accountability. Nations should ensure transparency and accountability by undertaking periodic reporting and establishing a global registry of fossil fuels
- Commitments and transition. Nations should commit to cease the expansion of new fossil fuel production, including exploration and investments in infrastructure, and undertaking a managed phase-out of existing fossil fuel production within specified timeframes
- and financial assistance. Nations should ensure that no country or community is left behind, providing technical and financial assistance to developing countries to promote a just and fair transition.
The Fossil Fuel Treaty would complement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement, providing a governance framework for directly regulating fossil fuel production with supply-side measures.
This approach has already been successfully undertaken by the world’s governments to address the Earth’s ozone hole through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, widely considered to be the most successful multilateral environmental agreement ever.
EIA joins a coalition of more than 2,000 civil society organisations to create the political will and mandate for a new treaty and foundation upon which to base negotiations.
We will engage with policymakers and stakeholders to convene a committee to develop the new treaty, building on the experiences of the Global Plastics Treaty and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
• Find out more about our Fossil Fuel Campaign