On the 23rd of September, the President of the Pacific island nation – Vanuatu, His Excellency Nikenike Vurobaravu, stood up in the UN General Assembly and called for governments to negotiate a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. It aims to stop all new development of oil and gas, phase out existing fossil fuels production, and ensure workers are transitioned to a greener economy in a fair way. A few days following the announcement, on the 27th of September, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw expressed in-principle support saying that “We have to pull every possible lever that we can because we’re still on track for a world of heating over three degrees. The idea of a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty is one that deserves exploring.”

This is a critical moment. For the very first time in history, a country has called for an international treaty to phase out fossil fuels. Vanuatu has taken an important step, and it is time for us to back them up so more nations will sign on to phase out fossil fuels.

“Every day, we are experiencing the debilitating consequences of the climate crisis and the world is now demanding more ambitious action… and we are measuring climate change not in degrees of Celsius or tons of carbon, but in human lives.” – President of Vanuatu, Nikenike Vurobaravu.

Coal, oil and gas are causing the climate crisis – yet to date there are no international agreements to stop corporations and governments from opening new mines, building new pipelines and green lighting fracking projects – and ensuring a bleak future for those at the forefront of the climate crisis.

With COP27 global climate talks coming up in November, the world’s attention will turn to climate action again. We need to show our support for Vanuatu’s plea for a fossil free future, and push New Zealand and other world leaders to pledge their support to the Treaty.

Sign the pledge and call on other nations to phase out fossil fuels right now.

Time is running out. Let’s join our voices together, stand in solidarity with those at the frontlines of the climate crisis, and demand bold climate action from world leaders.

P.S. If you are part of an organisation, we encourage you to speak with relevant representatives and ask them to join the global network of groups calling for a Fossil Fuel Treaty. More information on how to sign on as an organisation can be found here.

Authors: Joseph Zane Sikulu and Alva Feldmeier