With bold leadership from business and government, we can move from fossil to cleanMaría Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition
Today at Climate Week in New York, I am proud to unveil a bold new campaign from We Mean Business Coalition: Fossil to Clean.
Together we have made great progress to scale up climate solutions, yet emissions are still rising globally. This is because we have not done enough to scale-down the primary cause of climate change: burning fossil fuels.
But momentum is building, and finally the conditions are right for a historic shift away from fossil fuels towards clean alternatives. Renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper every year. At COP27, more than 80 countries rallied behind a call to phase-out all fossil fuels. This year, the EU and G7 committed to promote a global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels. The G20 recently agreed to triple renewable energy capacity.
As we head toward COP28, we must build on this momentum and pick up the pace. Over 13,000 businesses worldwide, worth $38 trillion USD, are committed to reducing their emissions in line with climate science.
Turning their targets into reality will mean decarbonizing their operations and supply chains, by scaling renewables, electrification, and energy efficiency. Companies that do so will not only achieve their climate targets, they will demonstrate their competitive advantage and resilience — minimizing business risks and ensuring long-term shareholder value. We know that business is ready and willing to seize these benefits.
But companies cannot do this alone. In our new polling, business leaders cite government regulation as the most important accelerator of the transition. The right policies and incentives can overcome major barriers to the transition cited by business, such as lack of infrastructure, commercial viability and permitting delays. Yet policy signals are not coming fast enough.
A call from business to accelerate the clean energy transition would give governments the confidence to act faster.
The sooner business and governments move together on a just, well-managed transition from fossil fuels to clean solutions,the better off we will be. Governments that implement the right policies and engage workers and local communities along the way will build more prosperous economies and resilient communities of people who can live longer, healthier lives.
How will we achieve this goal? At the centre of the campaign are new Fossil to Clean principles, which set a North Star for fossil fuel phase-out. They include targets and timelines for phasing up clean energy and phasing fossil fuels down and out – for business, finance and governments.
The principles address a critical missing piece: the need to set an explicit end date for fossil fuels. Providing certainty on when fossil fuels will end is essential for sending the right signals to the market to scale clean energy, preventing hesitation and hedging on the longevity of fossil fuels.
Just last week, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol predicted that fossil fuels would peak this decade but warned that many private sector companies and governments are still ‘taking very unhealthy and unwise economic risks’ by planning new, large-scale oil and gas projects.
By following the principles, companies that buy energy can send a clear signal that demand for fossil fuels is in decline. This will drive governments, financial institutions and energy providers to accelerate the move to reliable, safe and affordable alternatives.
In addition, the Fossil to Clean campaign will mobilize business voices at key moments on the road to COP28 in Dubai, calling on governments to make a global commitment on the timeline and targets for fossil fuel phase-out.
Governments must also update their NDCs to include timelines and targets for fossil fuel phase-out and put in place the national policies that business needs to reduce fossil fuels across sectors and accelerate the transition to clean solutions.
We want governments and business to state the obvious: to avoid climate change we need to phase out fossil fuels. With just a handful of years to achieve it, I call on business to be the catalyst for change:
- Follow the principles in your company.
- Be bold in talking about how you are phasing down and out the use of fossil fuels in the production of goods and services and replacing them with clean solutions.
- Sign up to the campaign to raise your voice in support of government action when it counts.
Today, as we look to our children and families and the places we love, we know that we have no choice but to be bold: phasing out fossil fuels in favour of clean energy is the only way to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Together we must go from #FossiltoClean.