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Pacific News Minute: Tuvalu urges UN to work toward phasing out fossil fuels

COP27 Climate Summit tuvalu
Peter Dejong/AP
Kausea Natano, prime minister of Tuvalu, speaks at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu last week made a plea at the U.N.’s climate conference. It urged countries to establish a global treaty to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

The low-lying country, which faces an existential threat from rising sea levels, is the first to make such a call at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano told the conference, “The warming seas are starting to swallow our lands inch by inch. But the world’s addiction to oil, gas and coal can’t sink our dreams under the waves.”

Tuvalu is following in the footsteps of its Pacific neighbors in urging a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. Vanuatu called for the creation of such a treaty at the U.N. General Assembly in September.

CNBC reports the treaty seeks to establish a common framework to stop the expansion of any new ventures in coal, oil and gas.

It also intends to wind down existing production to prevent global warming from surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists say that offers the best chance to prevent permanent changes to the world’s climate.

The statement comes as part of a growing momentum calling for an end to fossil fuel production worldwide. The European Parliament, the World Health Organization, and the Vatican have all backed the proposal in recent months.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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