National | Media Release

NFU Endorses Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

Ottawa, Ontario—The National Farmers Union (NFU) wrapped up its dynamic three-day National Convention in Ottawa on November 25, 2023, just days ahead of the United Nations COP28 conference on Climate Change, which begins November 30, 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. At its Convention, NFU delegates and officials from across Canada democratically adopted a resolution that the NFU endorse the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Information on the Treaty is here:

In support of the movement for an international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NFU urges the Canadian government to use all diplomatic measures at COP28 and beyond to develop and execute a Non-Proliferation Treaty that will halt the expansion of fossil fuel production, end all fossil fuel subsidies (both international and domestic), and deliver a just transition for workers and families impacted by the necessary transition to clean energy.

The National Farmers Union has led Canadian agriculture with the NFU’s informed approach to the climate crisis. Fully 20 years ago, in 2003, the NFU’s National Convention was devoted to educating its members about climate change and anticipated impacts on farmers. The NFU’s 2019 report, Tackling the Climate Crisis and the Farm Crisis, identified farmer-focused solutions. Now, in 2023, across Canada, farmers and farm workers face the devastating impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, forest fires, and unrelenting smoke. NFU member and former Vice-President Glenn Wright commented: “The impacts of the climate crisis will only intensify until we can substantially reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and achieve net-zero emissions.”

Wright continued: “Farmers know how to pull our weight. We work hard. We also know how to adapt to drought, floods, blizzards, plough winds, and whatever mother nature serves up. We dig in and we persevere. But overloading the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses is taking us far away from ‘normal.’ Our climate will continue to accelerate away from normal until we stabilize our emissions by addressing our addiction to fossil fuels. Farmers know that we must decarbonize our food production, and NFU members are prepared to roll up our sleeves to do our part. For these reasons, the NFU has endorsed the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and is calling on Canada’s federal government to do the same.”

The NFU recognizes the need for workers currently engaged in the fossil fuel industry to be assisted in retraining for employment in the growing field of clean energy. Many farmers and ranchers, especially in Canada’s west, take work in the fossil fuel industry during their farming off-season, so we see multiple angles of impact on agriculture. These new green-energy jobs must be good, well-paid jobs, engaging the many skills our fellow farmers, ranchers, and oil-and-gas workers bring to their work. We look forward to collaborating with all governments to ensure that farmers’ livelihoods, food production, and the struggle for food sovereignty are supported and enhanced during this necessary transition.

Wright concluded: “The time is now to take action to protect our farms, our families, and our country from the climate crisis. The production and burning of fossil fuels are the primary causes of the climate crisis. Canada has led before with the Powering Past Coal Alliance introduced at COP23 in 2017. The time is now for Canada to lead again to help create a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to ensure a managed transition to clean energy that will avoid not only more dangerous climate impacts, but also avoid harmful economic impacts that will result from the inevitable energy shocks that will ensue if we fail to anticipate that the age of oil is ending.”


For more information:

Glenn Wright, NFU member and former Vice-President: (306) 361-7314

Darrin Qualman, Director of Climate Crisis Policy & Action: (306) 230-9115