131 major global companies, collectively representing $987 billion in global annual revenue, have joined forces in a resounding call to action ahead of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
In an open letter to attending governments, these corporate giants are urging policymakers to establish concrete timelines for phasing out fossil fuel production and consumption while significantly ramping up the deployment of renewable energy sources throughout this decade.
“We call on all Parties attending COP28 in Dubai to seek outcomes that will lay the groundwork to transform the global energy system towards a full phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and halve emissions this decade,” the companies write.
We Mean Business Coalition urges governments to phase out fossil fuels at COP28
The initiative was coordinated by the We Mean Business Coalition and its partners through the Fossil to Clean campaign. Some of the companies that signed the letter include IKEA, Nestlé, Heineken, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Danone, eBay, Volvo, Ørsted, and Unilever.
The companies open the letter by acknowledging that “global emissions continue to rise because we haven’t addressed the primary cause of climate change: the burning of fossil fuels.”
They say that their businesses are already grappling with the tangible impacts and costs of climate change-driven extreme weather and that they “recognize the need to transition in a way that safeguards our future collective prosperity on a liveable planet.”
The companies explain that this means:
- Reducing emissions
- Adopting clean solutions
- Reducing fossil fuel use to limit global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement goal
To decarbonize our energy system, the companies remind us of the obvious: We need to “ramp up clean energy as fast as we phase out the use and production of fossil fuels.”
“This means turbocharging the renewables revolution, electrifying key sectors and massively improving efficiency — thereby creating the conditions for a rapid, well-managed and just transition away from fossil fuels,” the companies elaborate.
As they say, “climate action is good for business now and in the future;” the energy transition, according to the letter, could “boost global GDP by 4% by 2030.”
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The companies also make it clear that the transition cannot be achieved “securely or efficiently” without governments, financial institutions, and fossil fuel companies, urging the three sectors to work together to make the transition possible.
“Leadership from policymakers, alongside coordinated actions from finance and fossil fuel producers, will enable us, as energy users, to develop and deploy the climate solutions of the net-zero economy,” the letter says.
Financial institutions need to help “ensure that capital is being allocated to accelerate the clean energy transition;” fossil fuel companies should set “science-based, net-zero targets” and develop and publish both short- and long-term transition plans while governments should “set the enabling conditions, policies, regulations and investments for a just clean energy transition.”
More specifically, the companies are urging governments to set concrete targets and timelines for phasing-out of fossil fuels that are in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal. They call for advanced economies to commit to 100% decarbonized power systems by 2035 and other countries by 2040.
This, they say, can be enabled by agreeing to a “global target of tripling renewable electricity capacity to at least 11,000 GW and doubling the rate of deployment of energy efficiency by 2030.”
“In order to stay below the 1.5°C threshold and avoid catastrophic and irreversible damage, it is time to give up business as usual. Green energy is the most impactful solution for fighting global heating, and in our race against time, we need to build it now,” Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said in a statement accompanying the letter.
“We know that to lift this agenda, bold decisions and unprecedented collaborative action are required at all levels of society – within and between industries, businesses, and countries,” Nipper added.
Governments are also urged to support countries in the Global South in developing their transition pathways and diversifying energy systems, including through the “provision both of finance that does not exacerbate unsustainable sovereign debt, and of capacity-building for just transition planning.”
Finally, the companies call on goverments, ahead of COP28, to “ensure clear pricing signals through a meaningful price on carbon that reflects the full costs of climate change.”
As the CEO of We Mean Business María Mendiluce put it:
“We have no choice but to be bold. Extreme weather is costing billions, and the human impact continues to grow. Every fraction of a degree of global heating matters. And every CO2 molecule matters, whether it comes from coal, oil or gas. We can no longer ignore the root cause of the climate emergency.”
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — Featured Photo Credit: Gab Pili.