In a resounding call to action, Nestle, Unilever, Mahindra Group, and Volvo Cars, among other industry giants, are joining forces to implore global leaders at the upcoming U.N. climate summit, COP28, to commit to a comprehensive timeline for phasing out fossil fuels. The 131 companies, boasting combined annual revenues nearing $1 trillion, penned a letter published on Monday, exhorting COP28 attendees to embrace a strategic plan that leads to 100% decarbonized power systems for affluent economies by 2035 and provides financial assistance to developing nations to accelerate their transition away from fossil fuels by 2040 at the latest.
Highlighting the mounting challenges and costs incurred due to escalating extreme weather events stemming from climate change, the corporate coalition’s message underscores the urgency of transitioning to clean energy solutions. The letter was masterminded by the non-profit We Mean Business Coalition, a formidable advocate for enhanced global climate action.
“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,” assert the signatories. These signatories encompass a broad spectrum of industries, featuring multinationals and small to medium-sized businesses alike. Notable names in the group span Bayer, Heineken, IKEA, Iberdrola, and many more, all demonstrating a shared commitment to steer their enterprises toward a sustainable future.
While companies have been progressively setting their own targets for emission reduction, they openly acknowledge that their ability to curb planet-warming CO2 emissions significantly hinges on governments accelerating their climate efforts. COP28’s commencement in Dubai on November 30 comes at a time when more scientists are sounding the alarm that the world is veering off course in achieving the goals outlined in the 2015 Paris accord. The Paris accord aspired to constrain global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
One of the most contentious matters up for discussion at COP28 revolves around the pace at which countries should eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels. The urgency voiced by European nations and other advocates to cease burning CO2-emitting fuels will undoubtedly collide with the interests of major fossil fuel producers, consumers, and economically challenged countries. The latter group contends that it is implausible to reduce CO2 emissions rapidly without significantly greater financial backing from wealthier nations.
The upcoming climate summit promises to be a battleground where these opposing perspectives will clash, with the collective resolve of 131 influential corporations lending its weight to the side advocating for swift and decisive action to mitigate the impacts of climate change.