The Port Vila Call to endorse a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The call for a Treaty has been led by a number of Pacific island states, including Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Niue and Solomon Islands and the Pacific Council of Churches.
1. 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.
2. Phase-out existing production of fossil fuels in a manner that is fair and equitable.
3. 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.
The scientific evidence is beyond doubt that the global climate is warming, and that the burning of fossil fuels – coal and petroleum – is a principal cause of this. The evidence is equally indisputable that if the rise in temperature is not speedily limited the consequences will be severe, if not catastrophic.
If fossil fuel use continues as it is, this will lead to social injustices that disproportionately effect marginalised communities. This would be a triumph of short term thinking over the common good, one of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching.
While the scale of the problem is widely recognised, effective measures to address it are less well developed. This Treaty would be an important step in addressing the climate crisis and in reducing the damage.
A key point about the proposed Treaty is that it emphasises a fair and equitable process, and a global, just, transition tp renewable energy. This is in line with many of the themes laid out by Pope Francis in Laudato Si ’: that change is urgent, but it must be achievable as well as equitable. “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing renewable energy sources. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy.” (Laudato Si, 26)
Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum , emphasises the urgency of addressing the ecological crisis. As he says, eight years after his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’,
‘I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons. We will feel its effects in the areas of healthcare, sources of employment, access to resources, housing, forced migrations, etc.’.
Both the International Laudato Si movement and the Religious Diversity Centre Trust Aotearoa have launched campaigns to support the Port Vila Call to develop a Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty. As a member of the Religious Diversity Centre Climate Action Network, we are sending a formal request for endorsement as either an individual or a group. If you wish to endorse as an individual, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name. Even if you are not endorsing as a committee, you can endorse as a member of the committee, or even a member of a parish. For this reason, the Religious Diversity Centre has two lists of signatories: Individual Endorsements and Group Endorsements. The most important thing for you to know is that you can endorse — this most important initiative should you wish to do so.
The Religious Diversity Centre Trust Aotearoa is now taking signatures until 14 November.