A small island nation Tuesday proposed the world should confront climate change the way it does nuclear weapons
Drawing attention to the escalating impact of climate change on the planet, a small island nation Tuesday proposed the world should confront climate change the way it does nuclear weapons – by agreeing to a non-proliferation treaty that stops further production of fossil fuels.
The proposal from Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano came at international climate talks in the Egyptian Red Sea Resort city of Sharm-el-Sheikh.
“We all know that the leading cause of the climate crisis is fossil fuels,” Natano told his fellow leaders. So his country has “joined Vanuatu and other nations calling for a fossil fuels non-proliferation treaty… It’s getting too hot and there is very (little) time to slow and reverse the increasing temperature. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize fast-acting strategies that avoid the most warming.”
Vanuatu and Tuvalu, along with other vulnerable nations, have been flexing their moral authority in negotiations, especially in light of mega climate disasters. The idea of a non-proliferation treaty for coal, oil, and natural gas has been advanced by churches, including the Vatican, and some scientists, but Natano’s speech gives it a bigger boost in front of a global audience.
A year ago at climate talks in Glasgow, a proposal to call for a “phase out” coal — the dirtiest of the fossil fuels — was changed at the last minute to “phase down” by a demand from India, earning the wrath of small island nations and some vulnerable countries.
Small island nation leaders also called for a global tax on the profits of fossil fuel corporations that are making billions of dollars of profit a day during a global energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“While they are profiting the planet is burning,” said Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of his and other small island nations.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa called on similar nations to form a “countermanding bloc of the victims of climate change.”
In a departure from the criticism that rich countries have so far endured from many developing nations’ leaders at this year’s international climate meeting, the president of Malawi praised leaders present in Egypt for simply showing up.
“The temptation to abstain from COP this year was great,” President Lazarus Chakwera said, referring to the talks by their U.N. acronym, “because of the great and unprecedented economic hardships your citizens are suffering in your own nation,” he said. “But you resisted this temptation and chose the path of courage.”