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Activists demand a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

Climate activists hold a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden on June 3, 2022. (Photo: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative/Twitter)

'The Science Is Blatantly Clear': Global Youth Demand Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

"No more coal. No more oil. No more gas," said one campaigner. "The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a powerful way for us to make that happen."

Jake Johnson

Convening at the United Nations-backed Stockholm+50 conference in Sweden, youth climate campaigners from around the world joined Indigenous leaders and others Friday to call on countries to adopt a binding Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty as part of an urgent effort to rein in runaway warming.

During a press conference in Stockholm and at subsequent marches in the streets outside the U.N. event, youth leaders said a growing body of scientific evidence points to the necessity of a sweeping treaty that commits nations around the world to halt all new fossil fuel extraction, phase out existing production, and ensure a just transition to renewable energy.

"Fossil fuels are destroying our Earth and we don't have time to negotiate on whether we need this anymore, because the science is blatantly clear that we do," said Farzana Faruk Jhumu of Bangladesh. "We want a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to be a platform that not only talks about phasing out fossil fuels but how we can do that in a way that is fair and fast for everyone."

Earlier this week, a first-of-its-kind analysis of more than 400 academic papers and reports warned that world leaders' "addiction" to fossil fuel use and expansion is threatening every single sustainable development goal adopted by U.N. member states in 2015, from ending global hunger to eliminating poverty.

The analysis concluded that a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty of the kind climate advocates have been pushing for years—and that local lawmakers around the world have endorsed—is needed to cut off fossil fuel production globally and meet emissions targets that are increasingly at risk of falling out of reach.

"The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is incredibly important to improve the livelihoods of those who are the most affected, most vulnerable, and least responsible for the climate crisis," said Precious Kalombwana of Fridays for the Future MAPA. "No more coal. No more oil. No more gas. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a powerful way for us to make that happen."

After issuing their call inside the Stockholm+50 conference, youth leaders joined the weekly Fridays for Future climate protests in the city's streets:

In a statement, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative noted that world governments are currently "on track to produce twice as much oil, gas, and coal than can be burned if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, a clear failure to address the source of 86% of carbon emissions in the past decade."

"Fossil fuels are undoubtedly the top threat to our health, climate, biodiversity, and security, yet governments have failed to directly address them since the original summit 50 years ago," the group said. "However, the emerging recommendations from the Stockholm+50 conference has language that directly acknowledges this threat that fossil fuels pose to humanity and the need for a solution like the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty."

At the opening of the two-day conference on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned that "global well-being is in jeopardy, in large part because we have not kept our promises on the environment."

"We need to change course—now—and end our senseless and suicidal war against nature," he continued. "The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement show the way. But we must act on these commitments. Otherwise, they are nothing but hot air. And hot air is killing us."

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