Nearly 150 parliamentarians from around the world have added their names to a peer-driven call to accelerate into a fossil-free future, with national policies to will ensure a truly global energy transition that leaves no one behind.
In a video released at a COP 26 news conference, several of the lawmakers who initiated the Parliamentarians’ Call for a Fossil Free Future urged their peers worldwide to raise their voices for climate action sufficient to keep global heating below 1.5°C.
“We believe that the Parliamentarians’ Call for a Fossil Free Future is one initiative that can contribute greatly at this very critical time,” said Charles Santiago, a Malaysian member of parliament who played a key role in launching the initiative.
“We must take decisive action against fossil fuels and fossil fuel systems,” agreed Philippines Senator Risa Hontiveros.
At a media briefing Wednesday morning, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative Chair Tzeporah Berman traced the gap between present practice and the fossil-free future the parliamentarians are demanding.
“We know that 86% of the emissions dropped into our atmosphere come from three products: oil, gas, and coal,” she said. “And today, we’re still spending the majority of our intellectual, financial, and political capital to dig up stuff that we know we cannot burn, or it will burn us.”
She pointed to this year’s COP as a signature moment, with limited language on fossil fuels included in draft decision text for the first time—but stressed that the UN climate process still has a long way to go.
“Many of us have said many F-words at COP,” Berman said. Now, “it’s time to say some particular F-words at COP, like ‘fossil fuels’. Phasing them out ‘fast, fair, and forever.”
She added that “we cannot meet the goals of the Paris agreement unless we address the expansion of oil, gas, and coal. The science is very clear.” So “it’s time to move from rhetoric to substantial policy and commitments to stop funding, to stop subsidizing, to stop approving the expansion of fossil fuels.”
The parliamentarians involved in yesterday’s release issued [pdf] four key demands:
• No further expansion of coal, oil, or gas production;
• A phaseout of existing fossil operations “in a manner that is fair and equitable, taking into account the responsibilities of countries for climate change and their respective capacity to transition”;
• A commitment by all policy-makers everywhere “pursue transformational policies and plans to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally”;
• All fiscal policies directed to support a “swift and just transition, nationally and globally.”
The group also calls for “the timely and adequate delivery of public, additional, and non-debt creating climate finance as part of the obligations of rich, industrialized countries to address climate change.”
Initiated by more than 20 parliamentarians from the Global South—with representation from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Colombia, Timor-Leste, Rwanda, South Africa, and Palau—the call has so far gathered nearly 150 signatories from 32 parliaments around the world. So far, EU representation dominates with 78 signatories, followed by Asia with 26. The United Kingdom and Australia have 11 signatories each, while 10 Canadian legislators have signed on.
Three legislators each from Rwanda and Costa Rica, two from Argentina, and one each from Colombia, Kenya, South Africa, Kiribati and Palau have also signed.
Absent from the list presented this week were lawmakers from the United States, Russia, and China.
On Wednesday, the Treaty Initiative tweeted a photo of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Glasgow, holding a copy of the FFNPT briefing kit alongside the initiative’s strategic partnership advisor Harjeet Singh. “We hope @SpeakerPelosi is listening to people across the world like @harjeet11 who are calling for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at #COP26,” the group wrote.
A Pelosi aide was terse in reply. “The Speaker very often receives letters, reports, and packets at events and this is no different,” Senior Communications Advisor Carlos Paz Jr. told The Energy Mix in an email. “She has not read the report.”