We care enough about the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) that we have written the Mayor and council for 10 of our Fraser Valley cities on behalf of our 64 members. Our members live in these cities, and we have been asked to speak on their behalf, so that gives Fraser Valley Climate Action some standing in those councils to make our request.
We wrote to request the endorsement of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty by the City Councils. As we are all aware, the GHG emissions from burning fossil fuels is the most significant contributor to climate change and it is crucial that we take immediate action to tackle this issue. This issue affects our cities and province directly, as demonstrated by the death of over 600 people due to the week-long heat dome in 2021, according to the BC Coroner. The frequency and magnitude of events such as atmospheric rivers and subsequent flooding are increasing, resulting in increased costs for cities to rebuild infrastructure and make it more resilient. Insurance costs are rising for everyone, and the scientific community, the UN, the IPCC, and the WHO (who have signed the treaty) all stress the need to stop burning fossil fuels and stop subsidizing their use. Our local support systems are already under pressure, and climate change disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable residents. As cities, it is our responsibility to shift our focus and start taking action to actively fight climate change. People are scared and for good reason.
Because Cities contribute 70% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, they are in a position to make the changes that will have the biggest impact. There is some hope… In our area other neighbouring cities are showing leadership through this endorsement including; Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Burnaby, New West, Powell River, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Port Moody. They are making commitments to intentionally consider and reduce how their cities contribute to Climate Change. Why this treaty?
In a nutshell, the treaty has 3 pillars:
Prevent the proliferation of coal, oil and gas by ending all new exploration and production
2. A FAIR PHASE-OUT
Phase-out existing production of fossil fuels in line with the 1.5C global climate goal
3. JUST TRANSITION
Fast-track real solutions and a just transition for every worker, community and country
Practically what might this look like?
- “Don’t make the problem worse” – Is the city purchasing new vehicles like transit buses that will burn fossil fuels for the next 20 years? Is the city making it easy or hard for builders to expand and increase the number of buildings in the city that burn fossil gas for heating? Is the city approving applications for new gas stations? Is the city permitting and supporting new oil and gas infrastructure being installed in the city? Is the city accepting gifts from oil and gas?
- “There is a phase-out” – For some people, this is where the penny drops and they catch on that we can’t keep burning fossil fuels unsustainably. The UN, the WHO, the IPCC, the IEA, pretty much every independent scientific organization (that is not on the payroll of oil and gas) is telling us that we must reduce oil and gas production and we must stop burning fossil fuels. – Is the city offering incentives for energy efficiency upgrades? – Is the city mandating electric heat pumps in multi-family housing like apartments – Is the city investing in EV charging infrastructure and replacing its fleet of ICE vehicles with EVs? – Is the city imposing rules on gas-burning appliances in residences and businesses to protect health (and climate). Is the city working to ensure that public transit is more convenient and more affordable than driving a car? Are transportation companies being encouraged/challenged to think beyond the diesel engine or the gasoline engine (the most polluting fossil fuels in wide use)?
- “Just Transition” – We need more skilled solar and wind installers, more EV charger installers, and more EV mechanics. Is the city ensuring that funding and spaces at local colleges are anticipating this need? Is the city training and recruiting staff, and updating programs to make sure that no people are “left behind”, and that there are plans to transform neighbourhoods from car-centric suburban sprawl to walkable livable work/live/play neighbourhoods?
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is an international agreement aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels and promoting the transition to clean and renewable energy sources. More can be learned here: https://fossilfueltreaty.org/endorsements/#cities By endorsing this treaty, the City Council would demonstrate its commitment to addressing the climate crisis and committing to planning for a more sustainable future for our community. Showing that our cities are serious about our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and transitioning to clean energy would bring increased attention to the issue of climate change, raising awareness and inspiring action on a local scale.
Fraser Valley Climate Action has endorsed this treaty along with 236 other Canadian organizations. There is a strong desire in Canada to shift away from polluting oil and gas. As a member of this community, we believe it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to address the climate crisis. Endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an important step in the right direction, and we urge City Council to take this action as a sign of awareness and commitment to continue on the path towards sustainability.
We await the councils’ responses by email and we look forward to providing more information if required.
We encourage YOU to take action by participating in an effort our allies are undertaking https://www.forceofnaturealliance.ca/fossil_fuel_non_proliferation_treaty (5 minutes effort that will make a difference to inform city leaders in your community).
Thanks! Greg for Fraser Valley Climate Action.