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      Demand a fossil fuel non proliferation treaty (Photo – fossilfueltreaty.org)

      The Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) is a bold project to phase-out fossil fuels globally and support a just-transition everywhere.  Its purpose is to facilitate a coordinated, science-based, transparent, equitable, and international transition to zero-carbon energy.

      By Robert Haw

      The plan is for a multitude of nation states to sign and ratify the treaty.  Already, two nations have formally endorsed the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty – Vanuatu and Tuvalu (these are Pacific island states which are slowly sinking beneath the waves). Completion of the treaty is planned by the end of 2023.  After that it will go to the United Nations. However as I write, California is deliberating on whether to endorse the same, (see this link), and you can make your voice heard too.

      Right now we can tell our State Senators we want California to show advance support for FFNPT — contact your senator using the following link.

      Some of the moral underpinnings motivating the FFNPT are the following.

      1. States have obligations to take preventative and precautionary steps to protect life — all life, both human and non-human.
      2. States have obligations to do no harm to other States.
      3. Fairness for all.

      At this time, the propositions defining the treaty are still being developed.  Part of the development process is occurring via international consultations with regions and groupings around the world.

      Regions selected for consultation are the following:  Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and Global.  Groupings consist of these identities:  Faith, Labor, Health, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Youth, Gender, Peace and Security, and Climate Justice.  Delegates and participants at COP27 last November also contributed.  Diverse and widespread input is considered necessary for achieving an equitable treaty.

      North American Region Consultation

      I participated in a North American region consultation last week.  The stakeholders in that gathering addressed four key questions:

      1. In the context of this proposed treaty, what values and principles are most important in your region or group?
      2. What impacts might occur in your region or group due to FFNPT? (Beneficial and detrimental.)
      3. How can the treaty be implemented and operationalized?
      4. What risks should be avoided?

      For Question 1, the Figure below shows a word scramble summarizing the stakeholders’ view of “key treaty values and principles”.  Observant readers will notice that equity and justice dominate the roughly 30 values and principles suggested for inclusion in the treaty.

      decorativeFor Question 2, “what impacts due to FFNPT are expected in your region of North America”, the responses of participants, which were wide-ranging and detailed, mostly addressed beneficial consequences.  I’ve summarized those discussions here with a few short phrases:  stabilized climate, improved air quality, fewer natural disasters, lower food prices (less extreme weather), greater water availability (less drought), ecosystems survival, more low-carbon jobs.

      Re Question 3:  “how to operationalize the treaty” – responses from stakeholders can be summarized in the following way:  mandate clean power from utilities, end fossil fuel subsidies, levy higher taxes on fossil fuel corporations, implement border carbon adjustment mechanisms world-wide, end participation of fossil fuel companies at climate talks, limit political contributions from fossil fuel companies.

      And Question 4:  “key risks to avoid”:  alienating labor and workers, populism, using language which isn’t politically collaborative (i.e. partisan), appearing like a Western or European initiative (green colonialism), large corporations “leading the way”.

      Read more about FFNPT at fossilfueltreaty.org.

      Robert Haw is a retired JPL engineer. He’s a long-time climate activist in the Pasadena area, and founded the Pasadena Foothills chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the clean-energy group Pasadena 100.  He lives in a fully-electrified, zero-carbon house.

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