Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Canadian flag

An oil-stained Canadian flag flies near Queens Park in Toronto on July 5, 2015. (Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

'A Hopeful Day': Ottawa Endorses Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

One climate campaigner said the Canadian city "is taking responsibility for moving beyond fossil fuels and prioritizing the protection of people and planet."

Jessica Corbett

Climate campaigners around the world celebrated after Ottawa on Wednesday became the 12th Canadian municipality to formally endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Canadian capital joins more than 50 local governments, 1,300 groups, and 150,000 individuals—from youth to grandparents to scientists—who support the initiative, which calls for ending all new fossil fuel exploration and production; phasing out existing production in line with the Paris agreement's 1.5°C goal; and "a peaceful and just transition."

"Today is a hopeful day," declared Marianne Ariganello, an organizer with For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau. "Ottawa parents advocated strongly to their elected officials to endorse this treaty and our councilors listened and acted."

"Having Ottawa agree to endorse the treaty and to push the Ontario government to accept this treaty," she said, "is something we can happily share with our children as a success—advocacy works, it influences systemic change and action, our children do not need to feel they are fighting this climate battle alone, adults are standing up and taking action."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson will now send a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford urging the national and provincial governments to follow suit, according to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative.

Tzeporah Berman, the initiative's chair and international program director at the group Stand.earth, said that "by endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the city of Ottawa is taking responsibility for moving beyond fossil fuels and prioritizing the protection of people and planet."

"The shift away from fossil fuels is accelerating, but not fast enough yet," Berman continued. "Emissions from oil and gas production are Canada's largest and fastest-growing source of emissions, and the primary reason we cannot meet our Paris commitments."

"We need countries, not least our own federal government, to align policies with climate science and fulfill the mandate of being a true climate leader by urging a just transition that sees a stop to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and a phase-out of existing projects," she added.

The treaty endorsement in Ottawa comes after the city and National Capital Commission commissioned a study of how the worsening climate emergency will impact the region. The 2020 analysis warned of earlier springs, hotter summers, later autumns, shorter winters with less snow and fewer cold days, and a warmer and wetter climate.

"By signing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, Ottawa will join dozens of cities around the world making the commitment to move away from fossil fuel extraction and towards a just transition," said Ottawa Councilor Catherine McKenney, who introduced the motion, which was approved by the city council after winning support from a key committee last month.

McKenney—a 2022 mayoral candidate—asserted that the endorsement "sends a strong message that our city is serious about climate action and we remain committed to reducing" Ottawa's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"Cities across the world are already feeling the effects of climate change, with Ottawa experiencing more frequent and significant flooding, hotter summers, and increased major storm events," they noted. "Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to move away from GHGs and transition to renewable energy."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Massive Demonstration of Support for Lopez Obrador in Mexico City

AMLO was elected in 2018 and heralded as the Bernie Sanders of Mexico

Common Dreams staff ·


Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo