Why clean energy is the only way forward to a net zero future

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Joe Franses, VP Sustainability

At COP28 which begins in Dubai this week, world leaders will gather to discuss the urgent policy interventions required to tackle climate change, from an ambition to triple renewable energy production, to questions over who will pay for the Loss and Damage fund agreed at COP27.

At the heart of this will be tense negotiations on a global agreement to phase out fossil fuels. It's a highly contested topic that has been on the COP agenda before - without an agreement -  and takes place against the backdrop of a heightened role being played by the oil and gas sector at this year’s summit.

But however ferocious the debate, the science is clear. The world will not meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5°C – without the phase out of fossil fuels and with it a concerted effort to phase in clean energy solutions.

We already know the world is off track. COP28 will include a review of the UN’s first “Global Stocktake,” which provides a comprehensive assessment of progress since the Paris Agreement and shows that the world is NOT on track to curb global warming. It includes a call for ‘transformations across all sectors, including scaling up renewable energy while phasing out all unabated fossil fuels’.  According to WRI’s State of Climate Action Report 2023 we have failed to make sufficient progress on all but one of 42 indicators of climate action progress.

This is not for a lack of corporate ambition. Over 6,000 companies worldwide have set bold targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science. At CCEP, we’ve set our own science-based targets to reach net zero by 2040, and to reduce absolute emissions across our value chain by 30% by 2030.

We’ve spent a lot of time developing a robust 2030 carbon roadmap and have a clear action plan on how we’ll get there. We’re making strong progress in shifting to 100% renewable electricity across our operations and supporting our suppliers to do the same. We are reducing our use of virgin plastic in our packaging, shifting to use of 100% recycled PET bottles across multiple markets and investing in recycling facilities to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastic.

However, we’ll only achieve our net zero ambitions if the world decarbonises around us. Without government action we cannot get there alone.

That is why CCEP has joined over 200 other companies as part of We Mean Business’ Fossil to Clean campaign, to sign an open letter calling on policymakers to agree on a full phase out of unabated fossil fuels at COP28, and to back that up with policies enabling the rapid scaling of clean energy.

We’re making positive progress in markets where the policy environment already supports our ambitions. For example, in Europe, we’ve already achieved 100% renewable electricity across our operations, thanks to supportive policies like the EU’s Green New Deal.

However, in markets like Indonesia and Australia where the carbon footprint of the grid is far higher we need governments to create policies that accelerate the energy transition and help to reduce the cost of green energy.

Bold and decisive leadership from policymakers is needed. We need governments to lay the foundations for a net zero economy, with the right market conditions and policies to enable industries to decarbonise at speed.

Phasing out fossil fuels must be at the heart of this. It’s the only way forward if the world has any hope of a net zero future.