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A coal elimination treaty 2030: Fast tracking climate change mitigation, global health and security

Burke Anthony, Stefanie Fishel. 2020. A coal elimination treaty 2030: Fast tracking climate change mitigation, global health and security. Earth System Governance Journal. In press


This article sets out the case for an international treaty to phase out the mining and burning of coal—a Coal Elimination Treaty, or CET—by 2030, as a way of addressing multiple weaknesses in the global climate change regime and as a medium-term success towards arresting average global heating at 1.5°C before 2050. Given the growing risk that the Paris agreement will fail to trigger rapid emissions reduction, we propose the CET as a global “supply-side” mechanism, and as a way of empowering climate-vulnerable and high-ambition states. We make an integrated environmental, public health and security case for a CET, specify its design principles, and propose three negotiation pathways, including a normative model inspired by the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; one that would progressively stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate coal so as to prevent a dire and unmanageable climatic future.

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