A group of more than 130 companies, representing approximately $1 trillion in global revenues, announced the publication of an open letter to governments attending the upcoming UN COP28 climate conference, urging them to set timelines for phase out the production and use of fossil fuels, and to massively increase the production and use of fossil fuels. the global deployment of renewable energy capacity this decade.
The letter, coordinated by climate-focused non-profit organization We Mean Business, was signed by companies including IKEA, Nestlé, Ørsted, Unilever and Volvo Cars, and said companies are already “feeling the impact and costs of increasing extreme weather events as consequence of climate change”. change.”
While celebrating the rapid growth of clean energy solutions, the letter noted that emissions continue to rise globally, and pointed to the continued burning of fossil fuels as the main factor causing climate change.
In a statement accompanying the letter, María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business, said:
“We have no choice but to be brave. Extreme weather costs billions, and the human impact continues to grow. Every fraction of a degree of global warming 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 crisis.”
Attempts to secure global commitments to phase out fossil fuels at previous UN climate conferences have failed. Last year’s COP27 agreement only called for an “increase in low-emission” energy and renewables, and COP26 included a pledge to “phase out” coal unabated. use and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.
In the letter, the companies call on heads of state attending COP28 to “seek results that will lay the foundation for transforming the global energy system toward a complete phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and halving emissions this decade.” Unabated fossil fuels refer to fuels that are produced and used without interventions that substantially reduce emissions, such as capturing at least 90% of power plant emissions.
To enable the phase-out of fossil fuels, the companies emphasize the need to significantly increase the production and use of clean energy, noting that “this means boosting the renewable energy revolution, key sectors must be electrified and efficiency must be vastly improved.”
In particular, the companies are urging governments to set 1.5°C targets and timelines for the unabated fossil fuel phase-out, supported by just transition plans for affected workers and communities, and to commit to 100% low-carbon energy systems by 2035 for advanced economies. and 2040 for other countries, support the Global South through financing and capacity building in the energy transition, put a price on carbon “that reflects the full costs of climate change,” and reform and repurpose fossil fuel subsidies toward energy efficiency. Specific outcomes targeted for COP28 include tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency deployment by 2030.
The companies also urge financial institutions to work with them and policymakers to ensure the allocation of capital to accelerate the energy transition, and call on fossil fuel producers to set science-based net-zero targets and publish transition plans.
The letter also highlights the economic opportunities presented by the energy transition, citing the IEA’s estimate that the “transition to net zero could increase global GDP by 4% by 2030.”
Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said:
“To stay below the 1.5°C threshold and prevent catastrophic and irreversible damage, it is time to give up ‘business as usual’. Green energy is the most impactful solution to combat global warming, and in our race against time we must build it now. We know that moving this agenda forward will require bold decisions and unprecedented collective action at all levels of society – within and across industries, companies and countries.”