10 Resolutions Calling for the End of Fossil Fuel Expansion, Transition to Renewables Introduced or Passed in the US and Canada in the Last Two Months

May 26, 2022

RICHMOND, CA – On Tuesday, Richmond, California became the 51st community around the world — and one of the first frontline refinery communities — to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and commit to passing more SAFE Cities policies opposing fossil fuel expansion and fast-tracking the clean energy transition. To honor this leadership and momentum, SAFE Cities, Stand.earth, and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative have announced they will host a live online event today, Thursday, May 26 at 9:30 AM PT/12:30 ET.

To join, please go to the live link here: http://www.stand.earth/SAFEstream

The Richmond announcement comes as a wave of local and subnational governments, including the State Legislature of Hawai’i, are exercising their authority to stop fossil fuel expansion and phase out fossil fuels. In April and May alone, 10 new governments have introduced or passed resolutions naming the need to move off fossil fuels. Many of these are also home to existing or developing actionable policies that stop fossil fuel expansion and accelerate a just transition to renewable energy. This leadership by local and subnational governments and advocates shows how the tide is turning against powerful fossil fuels interests.

Notable wins include:

  • The State Legislature of Hawai’i; Maui County, Hawai’i; Richmond, CA; La Crosse, WI; Albany County, NY; Montréal, QC; Richmond, BC; Victoria, BC; all introduced or passed calls for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Hastings-on-Hudson, NY added specific language to its Climate Emergency Declaration on the threats to public health and safety from fossil fuels and the intent of Hastings-on-Hudson to implement SAFE Cities policies to limit fossil fuel expansion. 
  • Orillia, ON passed a Climate Action Plan that includes moving off fossil fuels to low and zero-carbon fuel sources, joining a growing movement in Ontario.

“Each of these jurisdictions is taking responsibility for moving beyond fossil fuels, using their authority to protect the health and safety of their communities as well as global climate,” said Anne Pernick, SAFE Cities and Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Community Manager at Stand.earth. “They are working for a secure future where their neighbors and people around the world, especially those most vulnerable, are safe from the impacts of fossil fuels and climate change. SAFE Cities is honored to support their leadership.”

“In Richmond, we banned coal shipments from our port. We passed an all-electric policy for new buildings. These policies protect our community and global climate,” said Vice Mayor of Richmond, CA Eduardo Martinez. “We are one of the first refinery cities to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty because we need action by every level of government to move us off fossil fuels and to a cleaner, safer future.” 

“The people of Richmond, CA, like people everywhere, want a liveable, strong, and vibrant city that takes care of all of its residents and provides for their health and well-being,” said Katt Ramos, a Richmond resident and member of the Richmond Our Power Coalition. “That vision isn’t possible unless we stop expanding fossil fuels and transition to clean energy.” 

“Hawai’i is taking our own bold actions for climate change resilience and to move off fossil fuels,” said State Senator Karl Rhoads of Hawai’i, who introduced the resolution calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. “We need and welcome international action at every level of government to address the climate crisis and move to renewable energy. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative works with the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to take critical steps now for a better future.”

Joshua Cooper, a Lecturer at the University of Hawai’i and Director of the Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights, said, “Hawaiʻi committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recognizing the spiritual and familial relationship between humanity and our planet. Hawaiʻi has continued to match the promises with policies and practices to Malama Honua. A Treaty endorsement, which is consistent with our commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations 2030 goals, is part of the necessary course change to address the multiple impacts of climate change that Hawai’i is experiencing. We must accelerate our actions for a fossil free future.”

Maui County Councilmember Kelly King said: “I fully support the Treaty’s focus on nonproliferation, fair phase-out and just transition from fossil fuel production. Hawaiʻi is famous for and uniquely dependent on our precious environmental beauty, and we should continue to be leaders in environmental protection.”

“I’m committed to supporting families in La Crosse,” said City of La Crosse, WI Councilmember Mackenzie Mindel, “and families can’t thrive in climate chaos. I introduced the resolution to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty because I’m ready for major action on climate at the international level and in our community.”

“We revised our Climate Emergency Declaration to signal our intent to limit fossil fuel expansion and promote electrification in our municipality,” said Hastings-on-Hudson, NY Mayor Nicola Armacost. “It is critical that local and subnational governments adopt policies that transition our economy off oil, gas, and coal and onto renewables, both to protect our planet and to promote energy independence. We’re proud that Hastings-on-Hudson is part of this movement.”

“I see this crisis as a grandfather and as a retired energy engineer,” said Albany County, NY Legislator William Reinhardt. “I introduced the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty endorsement resolution because the renewable energy solutions are here and they need to be scaled up around the world, and because we need to stop expanding fossil fuels and manage their decline.”

“By signing this treaty, Montréal is once again demonstrating its environmental leadership,” said Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante. “As decision-makers, we must be courageous and mobilize our partners to respond to the climate emergency. The ecological transition requires strong and immediate action from all of society. Our administration has set ambitious targets for a successful ecological transition and the signing of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a complementary step.” 

“At the municipal level, we must act to make a meaningful difference,” said Orillia, ON Mayor Steve Clarke of the responsibility of government leaders to help move their communities to a low-carbon future. “While this shift will take significant effort and dedication from the whole community, taking action to mitigate the effects of, and to adapt to, climate change will lead to a better life for Orillians today and tomorrow.”

“The priorities of increased renewable energy production, focusing on zero emission transportation and enhancing energy efficiency and fossil fuel elimination for our buildings are the right path to net zero for Orillia, “ said Stan Mathewson, President of Sustainable Orillia which supported the plan. “Sustainable Orillia believes the challenge now is to promote and support City and community lead initiatives that assist individuals, families, organizations and businesses to make the necessary behavioural changes and in the City of Orillia demonstrating continuing leadership through committing to a properly funded implementation plan. This plan would include funding which enables early, steady demonstrable progress on climate targets  with an annual report card and integration of climate action targets into staff performance measures.”

“The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is what we need in terms of international action and there is much we can do in terms of local action” said City Councillor Michael Wolfe, from Richmond, B.C., who introduced the resolution to endorse and who is also a science and environmental educator. “I’m looking forward to working on policies to move Richmond off fossil fuels.” 

Naomi Leung, 19-year-old Richmond, B.C. advocate, said “Youth in our city want a just transition, both for our parents and for ourselves as we enter  the workforce. In Richmond, BC, our homes are at high risk of being underwater due to rising sea levels and flooding by 2100, and we want our city and the provincial and federal government to do everything they can to protect us. Endorsing the Fossil Fuel-Non-Proliferation Treaty is a key part of both protecting our community and creating a just transition off fossil fuels.”

“The impacts of fossil fuels and of climate change are affecting us all, but the most vulnerable in our communities bear the greatest burden,” said City of Victoria, B.C. Councillor Ben Isitt who introduced the resolution. “We need to stop using fossil fuels and make an equitable transition to renewable energy.”

“I thank the Mayor and Councillors who voted to endorse the Treaty,” said Nancy Macgregor, an advocate in Victoria, B.C..  “They understand the urgency of stopping new fossil fuel development and that a fair and equitable phase out and transition is the path forward. Together we will make a difference for our communities and the world.”

SAFE Cities supports the work of these and other local and subnational government leaders and advocates with technical, policy, communications, and organizing assistance, and by creating opportunities for local climate and environmental leaders to connect and collaborate on creating policies to stop fossil fuel expansion and phase out fossil fuels. 

More about SAFE Cities:

SAFE Cities is a growing movement of neighbors, local groups, and elected officials phasing out fossil fuels and fast-tracking clean energy solutions to ensure a just transition. Already dozens of cities and counties across the US and Canada– and in more and more nations around the globe – have passed concrete policies to keep their communities SAFE from fossil fuels, build renewable energy infrastructure, and create good, long-term jobs.

More about the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty:

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. 

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and SAFE Cities are sister campaigns working toward the same goal – an equitable world safe from fossil fuels. While SAFE Cities are a locally based solution that people in every community in the world can act on without delay to achieve a just transition, the Treaty Initiative goes global by encouraging first mover governments to act now while spotlighting the need for global cooperation in a time of global crisis. Together they tackle the climate emergency at all levels of government to ensure high-level ambition is paired with accountable execution on the ground.

Media contacts: 

Travis Nichols, SAFE Cities Communications Coordinator, safemedia@stand.earth, +1 404-432-1362 (Eastern Time)

Anne Pernick, SAFE Cities and Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Community Manager, anne@stand.earth, +1 541 390 8516 (Pacific Time)