As calls for fossil fuel treaty get louder at COP27, Ruto assures he did not sign oil, gas deal with Tanzania

President William Ruto

President William Ruto addressing the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Photo credit: PCS

in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

At the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, calls for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty are getting louder.

This comes amid reports that over 600 fossil fuel lobbyists have ‘infiltrated’ the meeting.

Speaking to the Nation on Kenya’s position regarding the treaty, President William Ruto said Nairobi is focusing on clean energy.

“To be clear, we did not sign an oil and gas deal with Tanzania when I visited. We have taken a position that as a country we are going green and we are well on course,” he said.

“As you are aware, 93 percent of our energy is green and we intend to get it to 100 percent by 2030 and I can assure you that we are well on course on ensuring that we go green.

He said Kenya plans to generate another 10,000MW from geothermal resources, and 20,000MW from solar and wind.

“[This] will not only be what we would like to feed into our grid as we take our country to 100 percent green power but also to set up green industries [that will manufacture] fertiliser and green hydrogen so that Kenya becomes a net exporter of green energy,” he added.

What is fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty?

Tzeporah Berman, a celebrated Canadian environmental activist and the global chair of the proposed fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, explained why it is vital.

“The fossil fuel treaty initiative is a global call for a treaty that would be a companion agreement to the Paris Agreement so that we could get countries to cooperate and stop the expansion of fossil fuels and wind them down in a way that is fair and equitable,” she said.

“These climate change conversations are complicated but what’s not complicated is that 86 percent of the pollution that is smothering the atmosphere causing fires, heatwaves, floods and drought comes from oil, gas and coal.”

She added that the three are the greatest causes of premature death globally.

“The good news is that today we have alternatives. Renewable energy is now possible at scale to power whole countries and this is why I have been working with everyone including politicians, lawyers, scientists, diplomats, health professionals, the World Health Organisation (WHO), religious organisations and now the Vatican to develop a call for a fossil fuel treaty,” she said.

She cited Vanuatu, saying the government of the South Pacific nation of about 80 islands “has made a call for the treaty on the floor of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [and] this is historic”.