STAND.earth: California State another step closer to endorsing call for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
Introduced by Senate Majority Whip Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, and co-sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Stand.earth, the resolution supports a global plan to create the missing framework for managing fossil fuel production.
SAN FRANCISCO (Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands) — The State of California is another step closer to formally endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty proposal as the resolution advances to the state assembly.
The resolution calling on President Biden to support Pacific nations moving ahead with seeking a negotiating mandate for a Treaty passed July 10 through the Assembly policy hearing in the Natural Resources Committee. Now it goes to a final vote by the full State Assembly later in the year.
The SJR2 resolution was introduced by California Senate Majority Whip Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, and co-sponsored by Indigenous Environmental Network, Stand.earth, and SAFE Cities. It already passed two previous legislative hurdles and was approved by the California Senate last May by a majority of 27 votes. If the State of California approves the resolution, it will be joining 85 other subnational governments and cities, and a bloc of Pacific nations who have formally endorsed the call for the negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Treaty.
Gonzalez said: “It is time to end the use of fossil fuels once and for all. SJR 2 is about bringing the global community together to strengthen our ability to meet international environmental targets. It lays out the foundation that is missing—tackling fossil fuels head-on by stopping the expansion of coal, oil, and gas operations and transitioning to a prosperous green economy that promotes economic opportunity for all workers. This is an opportunity for California to step up in alignment with our values as a world climate leader, by encouraging others to join the dialogue to help build a global plan to save our planet and protect our future. I am proud to be the author of this resolution that will reaffirm California’s climate commitments, and I am thankful to the Chair and members of the Assembly Natural Resources committee for helping to move SJR 2 one step closer to the finish line.”
The resolution supports a global plan to create the missing framework for managing fossil fuel production, first by stopping expansion and then carefully phasing out coal, oil, and gas in a way that is fair and fast. It also looks to protect the most impacted workers and local government services through this transition to abundant and clean renewable energy.
As the world grapples with the catastrophic impacts of climate change, and Californians witness the increasing frequency of devastating wildfires, severe droughts, and rising sea levels, it is evident that bold and immediate action is needed. The resolution has the potential to inject a huge wave of momentum into the global campaign for a Fossil Fuel Treaty and build significant pressure on President Biden who earlier this year approved the controversial Willow Project in Alaska.
One of the witnesses in the hearing, Dr. Marjaneh Moini, Board of Directors at Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco Chapter, said: “Nearly two years ago, the California Public Health rulemaking Scientific Advisory Panel explained to our regulators that the most effective way to protect public health from fossil fuel operations is to stop drilling and developing new wells and to phase out existing fossil fuel operations. Fossil fuel operations are a major driver of the climate crisis, the greatest health threat humanity has ever faced. Their pollution is also directly harmful to our health at every stage, from mining and fracking to transporting, processing and burning. California, where more than 7 million people live within a mile of an operational oil and gas well, must stop the expansion of fossil fuel operations and phase out existing operations, starting with a 3200 feet health protective zone to protect public health. Our fenceline communities deserve protection and our children deserve a livable future.”
Also witnessing, Dr. Aradhna Tripati, Professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, said: “In the battle against climate change, approving a resolution to halt the expansion of fossil fuels is not merely a choice; it is an imperative for our state’s environmental stewardship. By acting as a true climate leader it claims to be, California will send a resounding message that prioritizes the preservation of our planet and our communities over short-term gains. We must seize this opportunity to safeguard our natural resources, protect vulnerable communities, and inspire the world towards a greener, more prosperous future, forging a path of sustainability that future generations will be proud to inherit.”
Fossil fuels contribute to air pollution, respiratory illnesses, and a host of other health problems. By taking decisive action to phase out coal, oil, and gas, California can improve air quality, protect vulnerable communities, and enhance the well-being of its population. Embracing the call for a Fossil Fuel Treaty would send a clear message that California recognizes the incompatibility of fossil fuel dependency with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Fossil Fuel Treaty proposal has gained significant momentum in recent months, with a bloc of Pacific nation states – Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Niue and the Solomon Islands – formally and publicly expressing their intention to seek a negotiating mandate for a new treaty. They are now pushing to build an alliance of national and subnational governments globally who can join them in developing the initiative.
The proposal has also had formal support from the European Parliament, the World Health Organization and more than 2500 health professionals , and the President of Timor-Leste. These calls from governments are backed by a diverse and global campaign network that consists of 3,000 scientists and academics, 650 parliamentarians from 84 countries, 101 Nobel laureates and over 2,000 civil society organisations who have all backed the core pillars of the proposed treaty.
Stand.earth houses the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Secretariat and serves as one of its biggest champions in North America. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is spurring international cooperation to end new development of fossil fuels, phase out existing production within the agreed climate limit of 1.5°C and develop plans to support workers, communities and countries dependent on fossil fuels to create secure and healthy livelihoods. Nation-states such as Vanuatu and Tuvalu have joined dozens of cities such as Vancouver and Barcelona in calling for the Fossil Fuel Treaty with more considering motions to endorse. Hundreds of organizations representing thousands more individuals join the call for world leaders to stop fossil fuel expansion.