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COP28: A coalition of companies unite around ditching fossil fuels from the final agreement

COP28: A coalition of companies unite around ditching fossil fuels from the final agreement

An Offshore Support Vessel and a deepwater drillship at work during exploratory phase of a new offshore field. Photo credit: Public Domain, via Wikimedia.

By Anders Lorenzen

Just over a month out from another crucial UN climate summit, COP28 – this year held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – a divide has been building up between two sectors of the global world economy.

The heavyweight global companies, such as Nestle, Unilever, the Mahindra Group and Volvo Cars, are just some of the leading signatures of a letter sent ahead of COP28 to world leaders, which calls on agreeing a timeline to phase out fossil fuels.

In total 131 companies, who together earn nearly $1 trillion in global revenues, have signed up to the letter . They argue that the final agreement reached at COP28 must commit to reaching 100% decarbonised power systems by 2035 for richer economies. Financial assistance should also be given to developing countries, so fossil fuels can be phased out not later than 2040.

Anders Kärrberg, Global Head of Sustainability at Volvo Cars said: “We know that phasing out fossil fuels is the only way forward if we are to limit global warming and keep people safe from climate catastrophe. But businesses cannot do this alone. We call on all parties attending COP28 to seek outcomes that will lay the groundwork to transform the global energy system towards a full phase-out of unabated fossil fuels.”

Feeling the cost

The letter, coordinated by the non-profit organisation We Mean Business Coalition, explained that the businesses signed up to their network are feeling the impacts and cost of the increasing wave of extreme weather events as a result of fossil fuel-induced climate change.

The letter which can be viewed in full here, further added: “To decarbonize the global energy system, 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 letter spans widely across several industries from energy companies such as Spain’s Iberdrola, to Germany’s pesticide giant Bayer, and the Dutch global brewery giant Heineken, but also includes smaller and less well-known companies such as, for example, Sustainable Wedding Alliance.

But significantly none of the world’s companies whose prime objective is producing and extracting fossil fuels have signed the letter. Last week, Amin Nasser, the CEO of the giant Saudi Arabian state-owned oil and gas company Saudi Aramco, warned against phasing out fossil fuels and even said production levels should not be reduced.

Scientists have increasingly been warning, that the world is far from being on course to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and is likely to breach the threshold targets between 1.5 and 2 degrees C agreed on by world leaders in Paris in 2015, which saw the signing of the historic Paris Agreement.

COP28 begins on the 30th of November.

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