We’re writing this on the day COP28 kicks off (30 November 2023). Like lots of people, we’re pretty anxious about how it’s going to go down. The future of fossil fuels is a huge focus and we know transitioning away from them is key to limiting global warming. Enter the Treaty for the Non-Proliferation of Fossil Fuels. Its goal is to phase out coal, oil and gas in a fast and fair way to speed up the switch to renewable energy. 

Anyone can sign to support the treaty – individuals, organisations, cities and governments. Together with Curv and ecollective, Re-Action and its 36 members have already signed to support the treaty and you can too. Just click on this link.

Why do this now?

Fossil fuels have been dragged centre stage at this year’s COP. Here’s why:

  • COP28 is taking place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a country that gets a third of its income from oil
  • The president of this year’s COP is Sultan Al Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
  • The BBC reported that the UAE plans to use the presidency of COP28 to strike oil and gas deals.
  • It’s a stocktake year. This is when the parties assess whether the commitments will deliver the necessary GHG reductions to keep temperature rise to the 1.5°C set out in the Paris Agreement. We already know that even if all commitments are respected, we’re on course for 2.1-2.8°C. That’s pretty sobering. Exceeding 1.5 degrees will lead to positive feedback loops such as permafrost melting that will release even more carbon into the atmosphere resulting in even higher temperatures.

We know all that sounds gloomier than a coal mine canary covered in soot but there are glimmers of hope.

How COP could help

  • UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres wants this year’s COP to agree a complete “phase out” of fossil fuels to keep the goal of staying below 1.5 degrees alive.
  • Sultan Al Jaber is also chairman of Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies. That means he could be well placed to advance the phase out.
  • Whilst there are lots of fossil fuel companies in attendance, the conference also includes thousands of voices from NGOs, indigenous populations and the youth movement. This brings balance and a diversity of views.
  • Parties will flesh out the loss and damage fund, agreed to at COP27. This will determine which polluting countries will pay for the damage caused by climate change (and how much). It will also decide which countries suffering the consequences will benefit and how. This should help protect the most vulnerable communities.

How you can help

All that is a long way of saying that the future of fossil fuels is hanging in the balance. If you want to have an impact, add your name to the list of supporters and tell your friends. 

So far, the outdoor industry has been slow to support this treaty. We’d like to help change that, so if you know anyone working in the sector – in clothing, equipment, activities, destinations, contact them and tag them in your communications encouraging them to add their voice. Our individual voices may seem small, but when they are joined by other across borders, industries, religions, ages and ranks, they will resonate.

And if you want to know more check out this TED talk (13 minutes long).

Happy signing! ✍️