Towards a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

The FFNPF treaty proposed by the Pacific island state of Vanuatu for adoption at COP27 compels Botswana – and other countries that are similarly two-faced about climate change action – to stop hedging and to fully embrace renewable green energy



The biggest climate change news to break with days to go before the COP27 climate change meeting in Egypt is that the European Union will back a proposal made by the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu for there to be a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT).


Astounding but alluring
The island country is threatened with extinction if sea levels rise through global warming, as predicted, prompting its president, Nikenike Verobaravu, to make this astounding but alluring suggestion at the United Nations General Assembly last month.

Global warming is accelerating, and this is due mainly to the burning of fossil fuels. Mitigation of global warming has so far been an abject failure as emission of greenhouse gases that cause it just goes on increasing, exponentially so, as shown in the graphic.
A UN publication announced this week that increasing levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unabated. Experts are now saying at the present rate of emissions, the trajectory is for a + 2.5C of warming.

This will render the planet uninhabitable by 2100 as food supply and life generally cannot survive such high temperatures. Bear in in mind that 2.5C is an average increase and the range could be +1.5C to +4C. Imagine Botswana at 45C for months of end!


Nuclear weapons
The term “non-proliferation” is lifted from the language used for controlling nuclear weapons in the 1980s and is entirely appropriate.

The call for a treaty has now been endorsed by the EU, the WHO and more than 100 Nobel laureates, as well as by academics, health organisations and individual health workers from around the globe. The FFNPT initiative has three pillars. 1). The non-proliferation pillar aims to end expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and production. 2). The fair phase-out pillar would direct a coordinated reduction in fossil fuel production and could include extraction limits and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and 3). The just transition pillar would support employment and the social and structural determinants of health.

A new Global Transition Fund could operate as part of the UN Green Climate Fund, with additional funds coming from redirected fossil. FFNPT protagonists will make sure that it is covered at COP27 and will seek the support of all nations, including those that produce fossil fuels.

Botswana cannot any longer sit on the fence and look in both directions. It must turn away from its fossil fuel love affair – despite its ready convenience – and fully embrace renewable green energy. There is no choice.