By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
A Group on the platform of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative has responded to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s declaration that fossil fuel expansion is “insanity [that] belongs in science fiction” as lies.
The Group stated in a statement jointly signed by Jemma De Leon
Communications Strategist, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (USA) and Viviana Varin,
Senior Communications Associate, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (France) recalled the Secretary-General, also likened Big Oil to the tobacco industry in terms of disinformation and needing to be held to account,
Responding to the Secretary-General who spoke at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos today, the Group called on the United Nations to stop the lies and begin collective action on phasing out fossil fuels, noting that “the ecosystem meltdown is a cold, hard scientific fact”.
The Executive Director, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, Alex Rafalowicz said “We have to stop the lies of big oil, gas, and coal companies and start collective action on phasing them out. Government action to date has been piecemeal and devastatingly slow, riddled by the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists who are roadblocking progress in favour of profit.
We cannot meet the goals of the Paris agreement without international cooperation to explicitly tackle all fossil fuels and its industry head-on, he said, further noting that a glaring gap exists, one that can be filled by a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is already being called for by nation states, parliamentarians, Nobel Laureates and sub-national governments.”
Adding his voice, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University and Fossil Fuel Treaty Champion, Michael E Mann, said: “While we are already experiencing dangerous climate change impacts, we can still avert the worst consequences if we rapidly accelerate the transition from fossil fuels toward clean energy and climate-friendly practices. A Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty can be an anchor for driving forward that transition globally.”
The Secretary General’s impassioned speech comes behind significant fossil fuel headlines within the past week. The head of state oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company was named ahead of this year’s COP28 climate summit. At the same time, research was published on how Exxon had accurate climate modeling internally since the 1970s yet still strove to mislead the public on their industry fueling the climate crisis.
The Group recalled that Greta Thunberg co-launched an appeal for climate action just days before being one of many arrested at a protest over the controversial expansion of a western Germany coal mine. Further, a recently launched Global Registry for Fossil Fuels revealed that existing reserves would result in seven times more emissions than the world’s carbon budget can allow.
They opined that although the window for action is narrowing, there is still the opportunity to stave off the worst of the climate crisis.
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is spurring international cooperation to end new development of fossil fuels, phase out existing products within the agreed climate limit of 1.5°C and develop plans to support workers, communities, and countries dependent on fossil fuels to create secure and healthy livelihoods.
Nation-states such as Vanuatu and Tuvalu have joined dozens of cities such as Vancouver and Barcelona in calling for the Fossil Fuel Treaty with more considering motions to endorse. Hundreds of organisations representing thousands more individuals join the call for world leaders to stop fossil fuel expansion.