In a resolution passed on Thursday, October 20, 2022, outlining its demands for COP27, the European Parliament called on nation-states to “work on developing a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty”, a proposed international mechanism that would complement the Paris Agreement by enabling an equitable phase-out of oil, gas and coal production, responsible for more than 80% of global emissions in the last decade.
The resolution is said to reinforce the growing diplomatic support for a new international mechanism, less than a month after the World Health Organisation urged governments to endorse a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and Vanuatu became the first nation-state to call for Treaty at the UN General Assembly, a pivotal step for the ideal which was immediately followed by public displays of support from the Government of New Zealand and the President of Timor-Leste.
José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, welcomed the European Parliament’s resolution, saying: “Alongside some of Timor-Leste’s Pacific neighbor countries, I have recently called for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. As the momentum for such a treaty grows, it is encouraging to see the European Parliament formally take up this cause. We now need European nation states to follow suit, by their commitments to ending fossil fuel expansion and by helping support and finance a global just transition that does not rely on new oil and gas from countries like mine.”
Pär Holmgren, Swedish Member of the European Parliament, who moved the initial amendment to call for a Fossil Fuel Treaty, said: “Not a single leader who claims to be serious about climate justice can deny the importance of an agreement to once and for all end all new exploration, production and proliferation of fossil fuels, and rapidly phasing out existing uses by much more investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Showing that the European Parliament is serious about ending fossil fuel dependency by encouraging the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the essential wins of the negotiations of this resolution.”
Marie Toussaint, French Member of the European Parliament, said: “It was absolutely crucial, ahead of the COP27, to remind European leaders that they cannot use the ongoing energy crisis as an excuse to deepen our dependency on fossil fuels. The call made today by the European Parliament to adopt a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and phase out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2025
must now be heard by the European Commission and Member States. The EU must also acknowledge its climate debt, and the fact it has been a major polluter, responsible for greenhouse gas emissions over centuries. We have to find ways, within this non-proliferation treaty, to ensure justice at global level for those who won’t earn the money they could through fossil fuel extraction.”
The EU resolution responds to scientific warnings by urging governments to “phase-out fossil fuels as soon as possible”, but also demands for climate justice and a just transition, calling on European countries to “stand ready to contribute to closing the gap necessary to limit global warming to 1.5° C, in a just, socially balanced, fair and cost-effective way, while taking into account aspects of global fairness and equity and the EU’s historical and current responsibility for the emissions causing the climate crisis.”
The successful amendment to include a call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty was proposed by members of the Parliamentarians Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Future, a global network of close to 500 legislators from every continent who have called for “new international commitments and treaties, complementing the Paris Agreement, to address the urgency of a swift and just transition away from fossil fuel energy”.
Risa Honiveros, Senator of the Philippines and initiator of the Parliamentarians’ Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Future, stated: “In recent months, parliamentarians on every continent have called for new international commitments and treaties to address the urgency of a swift and just transition away from fossil fuel energy. It is great to see this gaining momentum with the proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty which has now been called for by the President of Vanuatu, the President of Timor-Leste, the Vatican and now the European Parliament.”
While the resolution from the European Parliament has been welcomed by civil society campaigners globally, on the other side of the globe, in Cape Town, the Africa Energy Week is underway as a major debate continues over the push from a number of European governments and fossil fuel companies for a “dash for gas” on the continent. African civil society has vocally opposed these efforts through their Don’t Gas Africa campaign.
The European Parliament’s resolution calls for member states to drop their plans to expand and invest in oil, gas and coal and instead to support a global just transition to clean energy with the “international assistance” required to respond to the energy and climate crises hitting Global South countries most severely in a sustainable and equitable way.