A hundred and one Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, are calling for governments around the world to sign up to a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty to help tackle the climate crisis.
In an open letter to world leaders published on Wednesday former presidents, scientists, novelists and religious leaders are urging governments to commit to a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels, and a “transformational plan” to ensure everyone around the world has access to renewable energy.
“Climate change is threatening hundreds of millions of lives, livelihoods across every continent and is putting thousands of species at risk,” they state. “The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – is by far the major contributor.”
The signatories are experts in the fields of peace, human rights, security, economics, literature and the natural sciences and say they “are seized by the great moral issue of our time: the climate crisis and commensurate destruction of nature”.
“The solution is clear,” the letter adds. “Fossil fuels must be kept in the ground. Leaders, not industry, hold the power and have the moral responsibility to take bold actions to address this crisis.”
The letter, which comes before a key international climate conference to be held in Glasgow this year, calls on world leaders end any new expansion of oil gas and coal production, phase out existing fossil fuel extraction in “fair and equitable” way and to invest in a “transformational plan” to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally.
The call is backed by environmental campaign groups and thinktanks from around the world. In a letter of support being sent to political leaders they write that the demands from the Nobel prize winners “echoes the call of billions of people across the world for fast and fair action on the climate crisis”.
The idea of a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty was first raised by Andrew Simms from the New Weather Institute and Peter Newell of Sussex University in the Guardian in 2018
He said: “That so many Nobel prize winners from the fields of chemistry, physics, medicine and peace publicly support its principles for the fossil fuel treaty shows it’s an idea whose time has come.
“The proposal makes meeting climate targets easier by drawing a line in the sand of further fossil fuel exploration and production, rapidly advances renewable energy alternatives, and does so with equitable global mechanisms to ensure fairness.”