1. Where is the Fossil Fuel Treaty? – There is no such Treaty.

The fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty is a proposed treaty to explicitly stop the expansion of fossil fuel exploitation and manage a just transition away from coal, oil, and gas to clean energy.

2. There is no problem with burning fossil fuels for energy. 

The problem is that far more coal, oil, and gas are in company and government reserves and planned for production than can ever be burned if global heating is to be kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Put another way, burning all the fossil fuels currently on companies’ books would guarantee climate catastrophe.

Many major studies support this conclusion, including one that found 90% of coal and 60% of oil and gas reserves could not be extracted. The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms were planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects, resulting in catastrophic global impacts.

3. The world cannot do without fossil fuels. Renewable energy cannot meet energy demands. 

Renewable energy sources – water, geothermal, wind, and solar – are available in every country, and their potential is yet to be fully harnessed. Almost 30 percent of global electricity comes from renewables today. (IEA).

By 2050, 90 percent of the world’s electricity can and should come from renewable energy. (IRENA) The world will add as much renewable power in the next five years as it did in the past 20. (IEA)

Renewables are projected to become the largest source of global electricity generation by early 2025, surpassing coal. (IEA) In many regions, renewables are the fastest-growing energy source. (IEA)

4. FF phase-out will cause more poverty, take us backward in lifestyle level, and hinder technological progress. 

Events of recent years have accentuated the cost to the global economy of a centralized energy system highly dependent on fossil fuels. Oil and gas prices are soaring to new highs, with the crisis in Ukraine bringing new levels of concern and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper recovery efforts, while citizens worldwide worry about the affordability of their energy bills. At the same time, the impacts of human-caused climate change are increasingly evident around the globe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that between 3.3 and 3.6 billion people already live in settings highly vulnerable to climate change. Governments today shoulder the challenging task of tackling seemingly opposing agendas of energy security, resilience, and affordable energy for all. In the face of uncertainty, policymakers must be guided by the overarching goals of arresting climate change and ensuring sustainable development. Any other approach, notably investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure, will only perpetuate the existing risks and raise the long-established threats of climate change.

5. No country has signed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

The treaty was first endorsed on the floor of the UN General Assembly by Vanuatu in September and by Tuvalu at COP27. The World Health Organization has approved it, and Cardinal Czerny of the Vatican Dicastery for Human Development and faith leaders represent 1.5 billion people. Other supporters include the European Parliament, 70 cities, including London, Paris and Los Angeles, and 1,700 NGOs.

6. Clean energy technologies will also release emissions like fossil fuels. 

Clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and solar panels to electric vehicles and battery storage – do require a wide range of minerals and metals (IEA), and produce thus some emissions, but still far less than fossil fuels. (IEA)

Solar panels produced today only need to operate for 4-8 months to make up for their manufacturing emissions (and the average solar panel has a lifetime of around 25-30 years). (IEA). Wind turbines, similarly, take only about 7 months to produce enough clean electricity to make up for the carbon pollution generated during manufacture (and they have a typical lifespan of 20-25 years). (ScienceDirect)

Most of the carbon pollution generated during the life of a wind turbine occurs during manufacturing. Once it’s up and spinning, the turbine generates close to zero pollution. In contrast, a coal or natural gas plant burns fuel — and releases carbon dioxide — every moment it runs. It is important to note that wind turbines have negatively impacted vulnerable communities, and wind turbines should be constructed with more respect for the rights of vulnerable communities. 

7. If an FFNPT is approved, energy security for global south countries will suffer from a shortage and will not meet the SDGs on energy.

The potential approval of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) raises important considerations for energy security in Global South countries. While transitioning to clean energy is crucial, we must address equity and energy access. According to the World Economic Forum, emerging challenges exist due to countries shifting their focus to energy security amid rising energy prices. To achieve climate goals, we need buy-in from all nations, ensuring that energy transition plans don’t compromise market stability or equitable development in the Global South. Deploying more renewable energy will require increased financing, which development finance reforms can support. Therefore, the definite approval of an FFNPT will contribute to balancing energy security and sustainability, which are critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (WEF).

8. What does it mean to endorse or sign the FFNPT?

Organizations and individuals from civil society who endorse the FFNPT are asking their governments to develop and implement a globally binding international set of laws to halt the expansion, exploitation, and use of all coal, oil, and gas resources and transit toward renewable energies in a just and equitable manner, leaving no community, worker, or people behind, following the best science prescriptions available.

9. Signing as an individual or as an institution won’t make a difference.

Faith communities have an important role in bringing ethical principles to the defining processes and mechanisms of the United Nations. The support of institutions or individuals of diverse faiths enables the UN to assume the voice of the most vulnerable and to justly address the climate crisis, which is at the heart of faith community advocacy.

10. Climate change is not real, and those who are against the fossil fuel industries are radical leftists.

Climate change denial is a complex phenomenon that involves a clash between facts and values. While there is a strong scientific consensus that climate change is real and primarily caused by human activities, some people still resist this reality. More information is in this blog.