End financing for all new fossil fuels
Dear Heads of State, Lead Negotiators and COP President,
We are millions of parents from all around the world, writing on behalf of the children we love. We demand that you end financing for all new fossil fuels now.
Our children are being poisoned by toxic pollution from burning fossil fuels with every breath they take. That burning is also the key driver of the climate crisis, which is ruining our children’s futures and destroying our only home.
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion, and the bush- and wildfire smoke made worse by the climate crisis, lodges inside our children’s bodies, stunting the development of their lungs, brains and hearts. It causes and aggravates chronic diseases from asthma to cancer. Babies are poisoned before they’re born with soot breathed in by expectant mothers, which crosses the placental barrier and increases the chances of premature birth.
Air pollution means our children grow up suffering higher instances of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, adding to the burden of deep distress they now feel about the future. One billion children are already facing extremely high risk of immediate harm from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Children of colour and in marginalised communities are the worst affected.
If the decisions your governments make at COP26 and beyond do not prioritise immediate and rapid emissions cuts from all fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – the damage to our children’s health and our climate will get far worse with terrifying speed. The IPCC has made this very clear. The pathway to a more stable and healthy future is also clear.
One of the crucial steps is to stop funding the search for new fossil fuel reserves. You can enact this immediately. There are already more than enough fossil fuels discovered to dangerously heat our planet beyond 1.5ºC and keep poisoning our children’s air. Wasting taxpayers’ money to look for even more is madness.
Experts, including the IPCC, the IEA, economists, investors, and others have explained that it’s necessary – and possible – to stop all new fossil fuel development now. Perhaps you didn’t hear them. We are going to make sure you hear us.
We are a growing, dynamic movement of parents from all around the world. We make decisions every day for our children’s long-term future, and here at COP26, so do you. You have a unique responsibility and opportunity to protect all children, present and future.
We know this is not easy. Fossil fuels are deeply entrenched in our economies and well-funded, vested interests will keep getting in the way of change, but the time for excuses is over.
As the biggest collaboration of parents on any single issue in history, we implore you to do what is necessary to safeguard the health and future of the world’s children.
We demand you take the critical step to end financing and licencing for all new fossil fuel exploration today.
You have already committed to secure the Paris Agreement and take all steps necessary to keep global heating to below 1.5ºC. Every head of state knows that developing nations need much more financial and technological support to transition economies away from fossil fuels, or to leapfrog the use of fossil fuels entirely, as they grow.
As we hug our children close, we fear for their health and well-being, now – and for the future they face. Children are the future, and they deserve to have one.
We call upon you to join us in doing everything necessary to keep our children safe.