As leaders across diverse religious and spiritual communities around the globe, we call on governments to develop and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
We have been granted a gift, an earth created in all its diversity, vitality, and abundance, for which we are called upon to be stewards. But this role of stewardship has been overshadowed by neglect, exploitation, and unsustainable consumption that threaten the natural balance, social harmony, and existence of life on earth.
Too many coal mines and oil and gas wells are already under production, setting the world on course to fail to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5°C. To avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we must hold ourselves, our neighbors, and our governments accountable and collectively act.
For too long, government action has been painstakingly slow and catered too much to the reckless and deceptive fossil fuel corporations, preventing meaningful and timely climate legislation. There is a glaring disconnect between countries’ approvals for continued fossil fuel expansion and their rhetoric proclaiming long-term ‘net zero’ targets, a dangerous veil to evade responsibility, delay action, and rely on unproven technologies.
The burning of coal, oil, and gas is responsible for 86% of CO2 emissions in the past decade, according to the IPCC. Just 100 companies account for more than 70% of emissions. With these emissions also come the costs of local pollution, environmental degradation, and health impacts associated with extracting, refining, transporting, and burning fossil fuels.
These costs are disproportionately paid by those who are most vulnerable to, and least historically responsible for, the consequences of climate change – lives lost, homes and farms destroyed, and millions of people displaced. It is our moral imperative to protect those most in need and to uphold the human rights of future generations by employing clean and sustainable sources of energy.
The science surrounding the most urgent danger facing humanity is undeniable: to be good caretakers of our common home, we must act and phase out the production of fossil fuels. Several faith institutions around the world have already divested from fossil fuel companies, now we take the next step in calling on governments to plan a global just transition.
The current scale of the climate crisis requires a cooperative global solution that addresses the fossil fuel industry directly. We call on governments to urgently commence negotiations to develop and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, laying out a binding global plan to:
End expansion of any new coal, oil or gas production in line with the best available science as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme;
Phase-out existing production of fossil fuels in a manner that is fair and equitable, taking into account the respective dependency of countries on fossil fuels and their capacity to transition;
Ensure a global just transition to 100% access to renewable energy globally, support dependent economies to diversify away from fossil fuels, and enable all people and communities, not least the Global South, to flourish.
We hail from many faiths and beliefs, but together we can remedy the decades of negligence to safeguard our coexistence with this earth. Just as our beliefs are entrenched in religious and spiritual teachings, our response to the climate crisis must be deeply rooted in science and equity to heal the planet and people alike.
We have a narrow window of opportunity to act which is why we are joining the growing chorus of Indigenous Peoples, civil society leaders, youth, cities, lawmakers, academics, and scientists calling for a global treaty to phase out fossil fuels and support a just transition powered by clean energy and a sustainable future for all.