Good News: California endorses the historic Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

California has joined 6 nation states in a global call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Young people demanding its adoption at the COP 27 climate strike in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Credit: Bianca Csenki

By Sophie Roback, Alliance Intern from Colorado College ’24

In an historic move, California has endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) and is now the largest global economy supporting the proposal, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Introduced by CA Sen. Lena Gonzalez, it passed the CA Senate with a 43-13 vote. Sen. Gonzalez says, “I am proud that California has now been added to the growing list of governments endorsing the FFNPT. It is time for our nation to be a part of the solution, to forge strong unity and commitment to phasing out the use of fossil fuels.”

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative was introduced by a group of Pacific Nations, spearheaded by Vanuatu and Tuvalu. It’s a follow-up to the Paris Agreement, which doesn’t mention fossil fuels. CA is joining 6 nation states, 2,250 civil society organizations, 89 cities, and 623,178 individuals by endorsing the treaty. California’s endorsement commits it “to a fair phase out…by fast tracking the adoption of clean energy and economic diversification away from fossil fuels,” says IEN.

Indigenous Peoples in the state of California have witnessed firsthand the destruction of their ancestral lands and territories from the fossil fuels industries, and the extraction, processing, transportation, and consumption of fossil fuels has immensely impacted our lands, waters, air and the well being of all living things on Mother Earth,” says Thomas Joseph (Hupa, Karuk, Paiute-Shoshone), IEN Carbon Pricing Educator.

He adds, “As the state of California positions itself to be the fourth largest economy in the world overtaking Germany, this means California also holds the fourth largest responsibility to climate change and global warming.”

The end of the fossil fuel era is here. Our brothers and sisters in the small island states knew it, 43 members of the California State Assembly knew it, and soon leaders across the world will know it. A Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty begins the changes needed to pivot to an equitable and Just Transition, that’s not rooted in colonization and extends or justifies the continued exploitation by extraction on Mother Earth,” shares Brenna TwoBears (Diné, Hočak, Standing Rock Lakota), IEN Keep it in the Ground Lead Coordinator.

She continues, “While Indigenous Peoples and frontline communities face devastating hurricanes and wildfires, the fossil fuel industry scrambles for more money and power. Millions across Turtle Island and the world won’t stand for it any longer.”

IEN has played a key role in this effort. As its Executive Director Tom BK Goldtooth (Diné/ Dakota) points out, “This decision of the State of California is a commitment to take down the single biggest contributor to the climate crisis: the fossil fuel industry. California joins the millions of voices across Turtle Island and Mother Earth calling on Biden to follow in the footsteps of our Pacific Island brothers and sisters from the small Island states and negotiate a mandate for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

He further emphasizes, “As the state with the highest population of Indigenous Peoples in the country, it is important to pass legislation that would put a halt to the devastation and destruction of the compounding effects of climate change caused by fossil fuels.”

The Alliance supports the Last Chance Alliance’s call for urgent policy reforms in California to stop all new fossil fuel permits and existing oil drilling, while rolling out health and safety buffers. And we need to go further and have the US sign the Treaty.

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