Press release

Fossil fuel industries need to invest more in renewables and pay their fair share to climate finance - Ryan

28th November 2023
Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan

Minister Eamon Ryan will be heading to COP28 in Dubai this coming Friday, December 1st with two key priorities – to ensure that the written decision or conclusion from this global climate stock-taking event includes a mechanism for greater investment in clean energy in developing countries and a plan for fossil fuel industries to pay their fair share into the world’s climate financing pot.

The Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport wants to see a commitment to tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, as proposed by the International Energy Agency. However, this will not be enough he said. In addition, there needs to be a concerted move to phase out fossil fuels and eliminate the wasteful release of fossil fuel methane.

In advance of COP28, Minister Ryan has developed a concept note which he has used to advocate for an innovative and solution-based outcome from the global climate conference. This note forms the basis of Ireland’s position heading to COP 28 and has also informed a robust European Council position, including agreement around the proposal to redirect fossil fuel finance to clean energy.

Loss and damage

Minister Ryan believes that there will be broad agreement by parties on loss and damage financing early on at COP28, allowing this year’s global climate gathering to move on to other prescient issues.

“I am very proud of what the Irish government has done to deliver agreement on loss and damage. It’s not perfect and there has been compromise but it can now move on to secure real delivery of funds to support and protect the most vulnerable,” he said.

“However, we need to deliver much more this year given the urgency of dramatic climate change. The fact that the global stock-take will show that the world is way off track on its emissions targets puts greater onus on leaders to deliver a broad, ambitious and innovative response in Dubai.”

Climate finance and energy accessibility

The Minister wants to see a plan to ensure that fossil fuel industries take greater responsibility for climate financing and investment in the shift to renewables.

“There is an urgent need for investment in clean energy in the developing and emerging countries, in particular Africa. At the moment, fossil fuel companies are only investing about 2.5% percent of their supernormal profits into clean energy, and most of this is going to Europe, the United States and China.”

“There are more solar panels in the Netherlands than the entirety of Africa, which has 60% of the world’s solar radiation. This is not fair. This has to change, and not just for climate reasons. If we invest in Africa, we are immediately supporting countries most affected by climate and least responsible for its causes. We can support development in countries where some of the worlds’ most intractable conflicts are taking place. Finally, this shift to energy equity can help manage forced climate migration, one of the greatest challenges we face.”

He said that fossil fuel companies and sectors should pay their share to climate financing.

“Fossil fuel companies are going to have to pay their way. They can’t just keep going business as usual, expanding fossil fuel production and making the maximum profits they can out of the remaining years they feel they might have.”

He suggests that the world’s financial architecture will have to put in place systems and structures needed to facilitate the move to a global green energy revolution, like reducing currency risks, ensuring regulation and greater transparency, and ensuring there is the capacity and skills available in developing countries to build the infrastructure and grids needed.

“This can be a win-win, good for the developing world, good for climate and good for business because it provides a better, alternative way of investing in the future,” he concluded.

The global stocktake in Dubai will see countries review progress made towards the 2015 Paris Agreement goals, including efforts to keep global heating to 1.5C. Projections for emissions are showing an increase of 9% by 2030, a long-way off the targeted reduction of up to 45% by the end of the decade.

The full concept note is available here.

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