The European Parliament is calling on EU nation states to begin developing a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT), and to “stand ready” to do what is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
The October 20 resolution—which outlines the European Parliament’s demands for next month’s COP 27 climate summit in Egypt—was passed scarcely a month after the World Health Organization urged governments to endorse the FFNPT, and after Vanuatu became the first nation state to call for a FFNPT at the UN, reports the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty Initiative.
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The FFNPT will act as an international mechanism supporting the Paris agreement by “enabling an equitable phaseout of oil, gas, and coal production, responsible for more than 80% of global emissions in the last decade,” the FFNPT initiative says in a release.
The resolution indicates burgeoning diplomatic support for an international mechanism to end fossil fuel expansion and enable a just transition to renewable energy on a global scale, the release adds.
“It was absolutely crucial, ahead of the COP 27, to remind European leaders that they cannot use the ongoing energy crisis as an excuse to deepen our dependency on fossil fuels,” said Marie Toussaint, French member of the European Parliament.
In addition to calling for countries to negotiate a FFNPT, the resolution urges them to “phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible,” stop all new investments in fossil fuel extraction, end fossil fuel subsidies urgently, and move forward on the issue of finance to address loss and damage.
The resolution also “highlights the importance of international cooperation to phase out fossil fuels.” However, while the resolution is an important step for inspiring global momentum to shift away from fossil fuels, the European Parliament does not represent the EU and the resolution does not bind member states to act.
“This resolution isn’t a silver bullet but it is a major development in the campaign for a Fossil Fuel Treaty,” Viviana Varin, the treaty initiative’s senior communications associate, told The Energy Mix.
Even though it’s non-binding, the resolution still sends an important message to EU member states facing an energy crisis—precipitated by Russia’s war in Ukraine—that has sent many of them scrambling to secure short-term gas supplies in Africa. The resolution cites scientific warnings to support its call for governments to phase out fossil fuels immediately to keep global warming to 1.5°C, while emphasizing that fossil fuel non-proliferation must be executed in “a just, socially balanced, fair, and cost-effective way.”
Varin said stopping further fossil fuel production and phasing it out equitably are two of three equal pillars that support the FFNPT outlined by the European Parliament. The third pillar calls for measures to ensure a global just transition to renewable energy societies.
This resolution is seen as significant because many European nations have the capacity to make the transition away from fossil fuels faster than less wealthy countries. As well, many EU member states are among the biggest historical producers of emissions contributing to global warming, the initiative says.
“The EU must also acknowledge its climate debt, and the fact it has been a major polluter, responsible for greenhouse gas emissions over centuries,” said Toussaint. “We have to find ways, within this non-proliferation treaty, to ensure justice at a global level for those who won’t earn the money they could through fossil fuel extraction.”