More than 2,000 renowned scientists and academics have urged world leaders to sign a new fossil fuel "non-proliferation treaty," pledging to phase out the use of coal, gas, and oil as soon as possible in response to the growing threat of climate change.
The experts urge governments to acknowledge that fossil fuels are the primary cause of growing emissions, accounting for about 80% of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution.
Sending an Open Letter
The letter urges countries to halt fossil fuel expansion and commit to a complete phase-out of fossil fuel production, which it portrays as comparable to a fossil fuel "non-proliferation pact."
"We are advocating for a solution commensurate with the size of the problem, given the substantial historical contribution of fossil fuels to climate change and the industry's continued development plans," the letter states.
"Phasing down coal, oil, and gas under 1.5C needs global collaboration fairly and equitably that takes into account nations' degrees of fossil fuel dependency and transition capacity.
"This, in turn, should be backed up by financial resources, including technology transfer, to ensure a fair transition for workers and communities in developing nations, as well as a good living for everyone."
"Even a tenth of a degree of warming is harmful to humans. This implies that every day we wait to stop burning fossil fuels, we go closer to disaster," Hughes explained.
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
The deputy director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, Rebecca Byrnes, said that world leaders should heed prominent scientists' advice on the need to phase out the usage of fossil fuels, just as they did in reaction to ozone depletion.
Byrnes stated, "The world's best scientists could not be clearer - coal, oil, and gas are the major cause of the climate disaster and are responsible for roughly one out of every five fatalities globally."
"Any 'net zero' approach that permits these weapons of mass destruction to continue to expand is insufficient."
"Just as nations worked together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals or stop nuclear weapons proliferation, they must now immediately negotiate a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty," Byrnes added.
The call for a non-proliferation treaty for fossil fuels coincides with an open letter from Australia's medical profession to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in which the medical profession asks the federal government to commit to a plan to protect Australians from the health effects of climate change, including new emissions reduction targets consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The AMA, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians are among the dozen prominent health professional organizations that signed the letter to Morrison (RACP).
"As doctors, we are aware of the impending health risks caused by climate change, which we have already witnessed in Australia. During the 2019-2020 wildfire season in Australia, areas of the nation saw some of the worst air quality in the world, with huge numbers of the population experiencing weeks of bushfire smoke and the resulting negative health effects," the letter states.
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