Ukraine invasion highlights urgent need for sustainable energy transition

The CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition has said the war in Ukraine has catalysed the need to move to a sustainable energy future.

Maria Mendiluce, said the Russian Invasion of Ukraine had highlighted the need for the world’s governments to unite to tackle global threats, adding the refugee crisis it has caused is a snap shot of the migration crisis the world will face due to climate change.

The coalition collaborates with a core group of seven business-focused climate non-profit organisations “to accelerate the transition to a just and climate resilient net-zero economy”.

“I have been inspired by the remarkably swift and united response from business. Companies, large and small from every part of the world are playing a major and active role in shaping historic events in Ukraine. Just as in other wars in Syria and Afghanistan, I am moved by the scenes of millions of people uprooted into forced migration,” she said. “The newest IPCC report reminds us that more than 3.5 billion people will be impacted by climate change, with vulnerable communities hit 15 times harder.”

“The war, perpetrated by the Putin regime, highlights the risks of our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

“Rapidly transitioning to a renewable and clean energy system will bring huge and wide-ranging benefits: greater cost stability; increased energy security and efficiency; and more resilient communities and economies.

“That is why leaders from all We Mean Business Coalition partners, and others wrote to European Commission President von der Leyen, supporting the call to accelerate actions under the EU’s Green Deal, as well as for the rapid and ambitious agreement and implementation of the Fit for 55 package.”

Mendiluce added: “Accelerating the shift away from reliance on fossil fuels is not news to the Coalition. In an open letter to G20 leaders, more than 800 companies called on governments to commit to public procurement of renewables to help stimulate corporate procurement in addition to phasing out of fossil fuels . With clear policy direction, business can help deliver the transition to renewables – the most efficient, scalable solution to both the energy and climate crises.

“New renewable energy sources are already reducing gas demand in Europe. The cost of renewables is at an all-time low which helped persuade over 350 major companies globally through RE100 to switch to 100% renewable power: sourcing nearly 45% of their electricity needs from renewable sources in 2021. WMBC will also continue to focus attention and drive greater ambition towards less recognised interventions, including energy efficiency and investments in grid infrastructure and storage.”

She warned that the Ukraine crisis was indicative of a wider issue that needed to be addressed.

“Globally we are facing untold disruption to our health, energy and food systems. Going all in for a clean energy system will help stabilise soaring energy prices for households and help prevent the immense human and economic costs that unmitigated climate change would bring,” Mendiluce explained. “Our work in response to the climate crisis reminds us every day of the urgent need for collaborative leadership across borders. Solutions to the world’s greatest challenges requires bringing people together in common purpose and for common good.

“The history of humanity has shown that this is the only way forward.”

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