NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, an island nation in the Caribbean highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and Timor-Leste, a Southeast Asian state also vulnerable to climate impacts and heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues, joined a growing bloc of six Pacific nations pushing for the negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The island nations announced their endorsement of the major new climate policy proposal at the main stage of the Global Citizen Festival in New York. In a decisive step to address the climate emergency, they showed fellow world leaders what the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres meant when he asked countries to raise their climate ambition just three days ago at the UN Climate Ambition Summit.
This move makes them the first countries outside the Pacific region to endorse the call for an international pact to transition away from oil, gas and coal.
Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda said in his speech:
"The climate crisis is the most existential threat facing all humanity. It doesn't distinguish between European forests and Caribbean waters. Some carry the burden more than others, as in the case of small Islands developing states. This is why today I'm honoured to announce that Antigua and Barbuda join our Pacific friends in calling for a negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Treaty. This Treaty will be more than words. It's a binding plan to end the fossil fuel era, a pledge to a rapid shift to clean energy, a commitment to a future where economies transcend their fossil fuel past, and an assurance that no community is left behind. With this endorsement we send a clear message: unity in purpose, unity in action. We are proud to become the first Caribbean nation to rally behind this cause, and we invite others to join us."
Timor-Leste also became the first fossil fuel producing nation to endorse the proposal. The oil and gas sector represents approximately 70% of Timor's gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 90% of total exports, as well as more than 80% of the state's annual revenues. Ramos-Horta has expressed his desire to make Timor-Leste a model for sustainable development, which requires a major change in its oil-dependent economy.
H. E. José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1996, said in his speech:
"Our battle against climate change demands collective action. Fossil fuels are the chief culprits, so the world must move away from them. The climate crisis does not share blame equally among nations. Timor-Leste and fellow developing nations contribute the least to climate change, yet we bear the brunt of its immediate environmental and economic impacts. Timor-Leste stands in solidarity with Pacific nations and is formally joining the call for the negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Treaty. Its mission is simple — to halt new fossil fuel ventures, phase out existing ones and fund a fair shift to clean energy. It is more than a climate agreement between nations — it is a health, development and peace accord that can foster genuine well-being and prosperity for all."
Gillian Cooper, Political Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, said:
“At the Climate Ambition Summit we saw world leaders finally bring fossil fuels to the center stage of climate negotiations. Now the endorsement of the Fossil Fuel Treaty proposal by Antigua and Barbuda and Timor-Leste at the main Global Citizen stage shows who are the real climate leaders. This bold move also shows that even fossil fuel-producing countries want to break free from the grip of oil, gas and coal, a system imposed on them by wealthy nations, and the main cause of the climate crisis. Their support to fellow Pacific Island nations is an example to the world that international cooperation and partnership is the only path forward."
With the support from Antigua and Barbuda and Timor-Leste, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty proposal is now being pushed by a bloc of eight nation-states, including Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Niue, and the Solomon Islands. The proposal is also supported by the World Health Organization, the European Parliament, 101 Nobel Laureates, 600+ parliamentarians in 83 countries, 2,100 civil society organizations including 380 in the USA, 3,000 scientists and academics and over 90 cities and subnational governments, including most recently the State of California, the fifth largest economy in the world, and 9 Peruvian Indigenous Nations.
Visit fossilfueltreaty.org/antigua-timor for additional details.
About the Fossil Fuel Treaty Initiative
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is spurring international cooperation to end new development of fossil fuels, phase out existing production within the agreed climate limit of 1.5°C and develop plans to support workers, communities and countries dependent on fossil fuels to create secure and healthy livelihoods. For more information on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative and proposal, access here.