Ahead of COP28, 131 companies representing nearly $1 trillion in global annual revenue have urged national governments to address the primary cause of climate change: burning fossil fuels.
The letter, coordinated by the We Mean Business Coalition and its partners through the Fossil to Clean campaign, calls for clear timelines and targets to phase out fossil fuels, a commitment to 100% decarbonised power, support for countries in the Global South in a just transition, and reform of fossil fuel subsidies.
“To decarbonise the global energy system, we need to ramp up clean energy as fast as we phase out the use and production of fossil fuels,” the letter states. “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 open letter was signed by some of the world’s largest businesses, including Volvo Cars, JLL, Unilever, and Nestlé and calls on governments, financial institutions and fossil fuel producers to play their part in driving the phase-out of fossil fuels.
To achieve this goal, the signatories urge national governments to:
- Set clear timelines and targets to phase out fossil fuels
- Commit to 100% decarbonised power
- Support countries in the Global South in a just transition
- Reform fossil fuel subsidies
“As we look to COP28 in the UAE, businesses including Volvo Cars, Iberdola, Mahindra Group, JLL, Unilever, Bayer and Nestlé call on all Parties at the climate conference to lay the groundwork to transform the global energy system towards a full phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and to triple global renewable electricity capacity,” it said.
COP28 is just weeks away, but it has already drawn criticism from some. Sultan Al Jaber’s appointment as COP president has been controversial due to his position as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Many people believe that his appointment is greenwashing and will undermine the outcomes of the conference.
However, Al Jaber recently acknowledged the challenge of fossil fuels diplomacy, stating that “we cannot unplug the energy system of today before we build the new system of tomorrow.” He also said that doing so is “simply not practical or possible.”
Despite his concerns, Al Jaber announced earlier this month that more than 20 oil and gas companies are rallying around his calls to curb carbon emissions and eliminate routine flaring by 2030.
The COP28 summit is seen as a crucial opportunity for governments to accelerate action to limit global warming. Reports so far show that countries are off track to meet their promises to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C.
While the ramp-up of renewable energy technologies is seen as the key to tackling the climate crisis, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that given current investment, the world’s power grids will be unable to support this growth without significant investment.
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