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Ahead of COP27 in November, more than 192 organisations have signed a letter that demands that governments lay out a legally binding global plan to phase out fossil fuel use. Signatories include the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Pediatric Association, the World Medical Association, the Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environment, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) and HEAL.

The international scientific consensus is clear: to protect the health and lives of present and future generations we need a rapid, equitable phase-out of fossil fuels globally, so as not to exceed 1.5ºC of warming. The signatories call on governments around the world to develop and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, laying out a legally binding global plan to:

End expansion of any new fossil fuel infrastructure and production by immediately ending activity and investment across all new or expanded fossil fuel exploration, extraction, and building of infrastructure, in line with the best available science.

Phase out existing production and use of fossil fuels in a fair and equitable manner in line with the 1.5C global climate goal. To address existing inequity, we call on high-income countries to provide financial, technological and other support to low- and middle-income countries in the move away from fossil fuels, ensuring the transition reduces poverty rather than exacerbating it.

Fast-track real solutions and ensure a just transition for every worker, community, and country creating a healthy and sustainable future for all.  A just transition must respect Indigenous rights and the rights of local communities.

“The modern addiction to fossil fuels is not just an act of environmental vandalism. From the health perspective, it is an act of self-sabotage”, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. 

“It’s plain to see why we need a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty: fossil fuels are not just toxic to people’s health – every stage of the fossil fuel cycle puts people’s health at risk, from mining and fracking to transport through pipelines, to processing and finally to burning fossil fuels for transport, electricity, and industrial use”, said Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “For decades we’ve depended on the capacity of fossil fuels to provide energy, but we now have alternatives that are cleaner and more sustainable – and compatible with the healthier future we want ”.

“Our unhealthy addiction to fossil fuels accelerates global heating and aggravates air pollution, leaving everyone with a huge and growing health bill”, says Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). “It is high time for decision-makers around the globe to take to heart the health prescription, by rapidly adopting measures to end the production and burning of fossil fuels, including a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.”

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