Fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty – a call to disarm

(China Dialogue, 19 Mar 2021) Campaigners hope to end the expansion of fossil fuels across the world and wind down existing production by getting countries to sign up to a new international accord.

A fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty (FFNPT) initiative was formally launched last September by a coalition of academics, lawyers and activists. It’s modelled on the landmark UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons agreed in the 1960s, and is built around the same three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use.

The fossil fuel treaty would prevent new exploration and production, phase out existing stockpiles, fast track the transfer of clean energy to poorer nations, enable a just transition for workers and communities, and support economic diversification in countries still dependent on fossil fuels.

International diplomatic efforts through the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and on a national level have focused on the demand for fossil fuels and ignored the problem of supply.

According to the UN’s latest Production Gap report, published in December, the world will need to cut fossil fuel production by about 6% per year between 2020 and 2030 to meet the maximum 1.5C temperature rise aimed for by the Paris Agreement. But countries are instead planning an average annual increase of 2%, the report found.

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China Dialogue, 19 Mar 2021: Fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty – a call to disarm