The green transition is one of the many industrial revolutions the world is going through. The role of governments here is the systemic tackling of the problems forcing the transition. The upcoming COP28 meeting in Dubai has the potential to be a historic moment in a time when the world needs solutions and cooperation.
COP28 is part of the continuous efforts of the UN and the international community to tackle climate change. The event will bring together national leaders from around the world with a determination to implement new measures to reduce emissions.
Climate change is a fundamental problem for humanity. Droughts, floods, hurricanes and heatwaves are becoming ubiquitous for many parts of the world. Ecosystems are breaking down and biodiversity is going down. This pressure on our planet requires immediate action.
According to the participants in the discussion “Why can’t we decarbonize faster? To phase out or phase down fossil fuels” part of Reuters IMPACT, fossil fuel producers have the financial power to determine the speed of the green transition. As long as they call the shots, their interest is to move slowly.
ESGnews.bg was an official media partner of the event.
Interest misalignment at COP28
The Dubai conference will have to find a way to reconcile fossil fuel-producing countries and fossil fuel importers. According to Mark Campanale Founder and Director at Carbon Tracker, no international agreements with the participation of Saudi Arabia will be productive for phasing out carbon emissions. He continued by pointing out that the world cannot expect much from organizations like G-20.
As many of you know, words like “coal” and “natural gas” are not mentioned in the Paris Agreement,” Campanale said. “In the last 20 years, we’ve had many discussions but they’re never about fossil fuels. The reason is that the agreement is about reducing emissions – we’re talking about emissions, not fuel.”
He pointed out that at COP27 some of the big countries worked hard to change the working of the agreements at the last moment. From phasing out fossil fuels, now the agreement calls for phasing down. Whether COP28 will bring any development in this regard remains to be seen.
There are 2-3 countries that are big producers of fossil fuels like Saudi Arabia, Russia and etc. They control the world because their fuel is used by the majority of the world. They dictate the terms. The injustice here is this: less than 20% of the population of the world exports energy and 80% imports it. The problem with climate negotiations is that some countries are able to keep the conversation about fossil fuels far away from the agenda.”
Why businesses need to consider phasing out fossil fuels
Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, explained that businesses need to take responsibility for decarburization. Companies themselves need to start talking about phasing out and not phasing down – as a preventative and profitable measure for the future.
We’re not talking about a rapid cut-off of fossil fuels. We’re talking about an incremental decoupling until 2040. It will be easier for some companies than others and they need to start first. ”
She explained that in order for the cut-off deadlines to be realistic, the financial sector, governments and demand need to be in line.
They need to go to oil producers together and say that demand for dirty energy will go down and there is no need for them to expand production. If petrol and gas companies make new production facilities this will create more demand, sadly,” Mendiluce concluded.
Milliken is an American company with over 150 years of history. The company has over 40 production facilities around the world and it produces medical products, textiles, dies, airbags and more. Milliken is also a company that has reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% in the last 5 years.
According to Halsey Cook, the company’s CEO, the reason for their success is the management, which is united around the same goal.
When we condensed our goal something unlocked. Together, we strive to positively influence the world for generations to come. This is a slogan I see on tee-shirts; people quote it back at me when I tour our facilities. Synchronizing our goals was very important for the change.”
He explained that a current problem is the lack of qualified labor. The business needs to work with colleges in the USA to build the workforce. At the same time, the green transition needs people with a lot of adaptive skills on a technical level.
You need a lot of physical labor to change an electrical grid – people laying down cables underground or above ground. There’s a lot of work to do and it needs skills that people don’t have. With the birthrate declining and the change in educational habits, we are seeing fewer specialists. The big picture: the times of long queues of people ready to start work and waiting for that golden ticket job don’t exist anymore. The situation is reversed. Labor is not a commodity, it’s a scarce resource.”