Over 60 groups call on Ireland to back new fossil fuel treaty at COP

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Joint statement puts pressure on Irish Government to endorse the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

More than 60 civil society groups have today called on the Irish Government to back calls for a new global treaty on fossil fuels. The question of how fast to phase out fossil fuels has been central to the COP28 climate negotiations in the UAE. A growing group of countries, led by small island states and recently joined by Colombia, are now pushing for the development of a specific Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Minister Eamon Ryan has indicated we will be meeting with the international Treaty campaign group at COP in the coming days.

The joint statement [1] signed by more than 60 groups and networks [2], including The Wheel, Trócaire, Concern, Friends of the Earth, Social Justice Ireland and the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, comes ahead of a Dáil motion next Wednesday, 13th December, put down by independent TD, Thomas Pringle, that includes a call for the government to back the new Treaty [3].

So far, 11 nation-states have supported the Fossil Fuel Treaty proposal, including Columbia and Samoa, who endorsed the Treaty at COP28. The initiative has been particularly successful in galvanising support from small island states battling to survive climate change, states that were crucial to Ireland’s successful bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021-2021.

Speaking at COP28, Siobhan Curran, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Trócaire and Chair of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:

“Ireland can demonstrate its solidarity and support for small island states, many of which are asking for Ireland's support in calling for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, by taking leadership and joining the growing numbers in support of a Treaty. 

“The call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is now supported by a bloc of 11 Pacific, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian countries, as well as the World Health Organization, the European Parliament and close to 100 cities and sub-national governments around the world. There is clearly a growing momentum behind the treaty.”

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy at Friends of the Earth, also at COP, said:

“Ireland has already taken significant steps on fossil fuels, legislating to ban fracking and new oil and gas exploration, introducing a moratorium LNG infrastructure, and joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance at COP26. 

“Irish MEPs from all the Government parties supported a recent European Parliament resolution which backed work to develop a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

“There is a real diplomatic opportunity here for Ireland to show genuine leadership by endorsing the development of a Treaty.”

Caroline Whyte, Ecological Economist with Feasta, said:

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UN agencies, and the International Energy Agency are all unequivocal in their message that further fossil fuel extraction and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure are incompatible with the 1.5°C limit.

“While setting a benchmark for global climate action, the Paris Agreement notably omits explicit mention of fossil fuels, the primary driver of the climate crisis. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a crucial instrument designed to complement the Paris Agreement, fostering international cooperation to accelerate the transition to clean energy by halting the expansion of gas, oil, and coal and by phasing out existing fossil fuel extraction. That’s why we are calling on the Irish Government to endorse the development of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty,”



1. The Joint Statement is online here: https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/assets/files/pdf/joint_statement_on_fossil_fuel_non_proliferation_treaty_dec_2023.pdf

2. The full list of signatories, which is still growing, is online here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jaxsfklRtVsM-6f1vRlocKkruNpUDMtftfP-US5qViw/edit?usp=sharing

3. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a global initiative to phase out fossil fuels, similar to a Treaty set up for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty represents a crucial instrument in tackling the climate crisis. It is intended to complement the Paris Agreement and foster international cooperation to accelerate a transition to clean energy for everyone by ending the expansion of gas, oil and coal.
More information here: https://fossilfueltreaty.org