Island nation Vanuatu calls for treaty to end fossil fuel era

September 24, 2022 03:38 PM

New York, Sep 24 (Agency) : The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has called on other nations to join them in establishing a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a proposed international mechanism that aims to explicitly address the source of 86 per cent of CO2 emissions that cause climate change: fossil fuels.

Vanuatu President Nikenike Vurobaravu on Friday made the historic call on the floor of the UN General Assembly, making Vanuatu the first nation-state to call for an international mechanism to stop the expansion of all new fossil fuel projects, and manage a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas.

The President will also launch their call for a treaty to phase out fossil fuels on stage at the 2022 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park.

In his speech, Vurobaravu said: "Every day we are experiencing more debilitating consequences of the climate crisis. Fundamental human rights are being violated, and we are measuring climate change not in degrees of Celsius or tons of carbon, but in human lives. This emergency is of our own making. Our youth are terrified of the future world we are handing to them through expanding fossil fuel dependency, compromising intergenerational trust and equity.

"We call for the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase down coal, oil and gas production in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius, and enable a global just transition for every worker, community and nation with fossil fuel dependence."

The call for a Fossil Fuel Treaty has already been endorsed by more than 65 cities and sub-national governments around the globe, including London, Lima, Los Angeles, Kolkata, Paris and the Hawaii State Legislature.

Recently the proposal has also been supported by the Vatican and the World Health Organization.

Significant momentum has built behind the proposal in recent months and Vanuatu's call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a pivotal 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 and landmines.

This historic call doubles down on Vanuatu's commitment to climate action, following their submission earlier this month of one of the world's most comprehensive climate targets under the UN.

Vanuatu has also been leading a campaign to have the International Court of Justice issue an opinion on climate justice and human rights, which paves the way for a new era of international climate policy focused on equity and justice and addressing the biggest drivers of the climate crisis -- coal, oil, and gas.

Vanuatu, an already carbon-negative country that absorbs more emissions than it produces, is rated the country most at risk of natural disasters, according to the UN.

Countries on the frontlines of this crisis have been calling for urgent, tangible action on climate as they face the impacts of climate change and sea level rise in real time.



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