London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, on Monday, June 27, 2022, endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, becoming the largest city to join the initiative aiming at tackling fossil fuel production, considered the root cause of climate change.
The proposed Treaty is now supported by 54 municipal and sub-national governments around the world, including Paris, Sydney, Barcelona and Los Angeles.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, while welcoming the commitment, said: “When it comes to tackling air pollution and the climate emergency, cities like London have a responsibility to act. We have to be the doers and not the delayers. We must safeguard our future. The main cause of the climate emergency is fossil fuels so I’m calling on cities around the world to follow London’s lead and commit to phasing out their use. The cost of inaction, to our economies, livelihoods, environment and the health of Londoners is far greater than the cost of transitioning to net zero – we simply don’t have time to waste.”
The capital joins seven other municipalities across the UK which support the global call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty – among them Edinburgh, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, and Cambridge – creating a national movement of UK cities calling on the national government to end its dependence on fossil fuels.
Ken Penton, UK Cities Lead for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, said: “Sadiq Khan’s decision that London should add its voice to the growing number of towns and cities around the world who are calling for an urgent but just transition away from climate change causing fossil fuels demonstrates real climate leadership. It will be welcomed by people who are experiencing the impacts of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. This is
in stark contrast to the actions of the UK Government to grant licences for more oil and gas extraction – which will do nothing to increase energy security and tackle the cost-of-living crisis affecting millions of UK citizens.”
Exiting oil, gas and coal is increasingly urgent for the country which has been facing soaring energy prices since late 2021, exacerbated and brought into the open by the war in Ukraine. Fuel prices could rise by another 30% to 40% by next winter, putting the lives of thousands of British households directly at risk as they face fuel poverty and debt, making the shift to clean energy even more critical.
Tessa Khan, Founder and Director of Uplift, said: “By joining other municipalities in endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and committing to a just phase-out of fossil fuels, London is demonstrating the kind of leadership we desperately need from our government. The Treaty recognises that fossil fuels are not a safe or accessible kind of energy, which is what people across the UK who cannot afford their energy bills have already learned firsthand.
“Meanwhile, the UK government continues to provide massive subsidies to oil and gas companies, including as part of the so-called windfall tax. A loophole in that tax allows any new investment in North Sea oil and gas to be discounted from a company’s tax bill, so the Government is once again siding with the oil and gas industry over ordinary people.”
Tzeporah Berman, Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, said: “London’s endorsement of the Treaty initiative is crucial since it is the capital of a country claiming to be a climate leader while continuing to approve new oil and gas projects. It’s not a transition if we are growing the problem. Acting now to stop the expansion of fossil fuels and cooperate for an equitable wind down will save lives and focus finances and time on building cleaner, safer solutions that will reduce fossil fuel dependence and family’s energy and transport costs. The support of the UK capital, together with that of seven other cities in the UK, shows the way forward for the national government to act as a true climate leader.”
Climate campaigners are calling on other London bodies and businesses to follow the Mayor of London’s lead in endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and take action to address the climate emergency by, for instance, ending fossil fuel finance from the many banks and insurance companies.
Seble Samuel, Global Cities Campaign Lead for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, said: “London joins more than 50 cities around the world including rural municipalities in Costa Rica, major capitals like Paris and Amsterdam, and oil-producing cities like Los Angeles, which together, form a pioneering international movement pushing other cities and national governments to promote a just transition away from fossil fuels.
“Tomorrow, we are hosting a public event with the cities of London, Montreal and a network of cities from across the Americas on how they are responding to the climate emergency by leading the world’s shift from reliance on fossil fuels, a top priority for addressing the climate crisis recently recognized by the United Nations.”
The campaign for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is inspired by treaties that have addressed the threats of nuclear weapons, landmines and other dangerous substances. In the past year, the campaign has received support from 101 Nobel laureates, almost 3,000 academics, 231 parliamentarians, hundreds of youth activists, a growing group of religious leaders, thousands of parents and more than 1,300 civil society organisations, including in the UK: Christian Aid, Extinction Rebellion, Global Witness, Oil Change International, Parents for Future, Stamp Out Poverty, Uplift and War on Want.