Just a week ago, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, I listened to its Secretary General, António Guterres, launch a direct dart into the conscience of the world to warn of the indolence with which the climate crisis is being treated. “Humanity has opened the gates of hell,” Guterres stated without hesitation in reference to the growing number of natural disasters linked to global warming. The heads of State and Government, representatives of civil society and businessmen invited to Climate Week were also able to hear him say that, despite the progress, “we still see many companies linked to fossil fuels, owners of assets and other companies “They seem to be investing with the same logic as those who, at the beginning of the 20th century, bet on carts pulled by animals, thinking that this would guarantee them maximum profits.”
Fighting CO₂ emissions is the only way out for habitability on this planet. And we don’t have another one. If we want humanity to have a future, administrations and companies must change the pace today, together, with ambition and commitment. The last two years show us that this perverse short-term incentive is still there for companies linked to fossils. But we must be aware that the measures we take in the next five years will mark the lives of millions of people throughout this century.
The objective of tripling renewable capacity on a global scale by 2030 is set; get 20 years ahead of the goal
Unfortunately, despite the cries for help that ecosystems raise every day, there remains a considerable gap between words and action. There were 195 signatories to the Paris Agreement, but to date, fewer than 30 have submitted national regulations to achieve net zero emissions. And more than a third of the world’s largest companies have not yet set emissions reduction targets.
We must shake off theoretical posturing and get to work on measures that have practical effect. Awareness is not enough. Nor the assumption of commitments. We must give results. The headlines of these summits must be concrete actions with measurable impacts, not just good intentions.
Iberdrola’s emissions are already 75% lower than those of European electricity companies. Quarter by quarter we report on them with total transparency. And we’re not going to stop there. On the occasion of Climate Week, we were one of the first companies in the world to present a Climate Transition Plan to the UN, fully aligned with the recommendations of the United Nations Panel of Experts.
But we need other major drivers of the economy to now implement a comprehensive and viable climate transition plan. More than 90% of companies that have already set net-zero emissions targets are expected to miss their targets if they do not at least double the pace of reduction by 2030.
It is true that government action is essential to encourage the reduction of emissions, but, to meet these objectives, most of the work must fall on companies in all sectors.
We, the companies, have it in our hands to change our investment programs or our production and consumption patterns. We have demonstrated that we know how to innovate in products that, in addition to responding to the current needs of our customers, anticipate future trends. We are the companies that provide ourselves with the talent and resources necessary to be able to carry out our plans autonomously and quickly. And every day we reach agreements and alliances with other companies, institutions and associations of all kinds.
In the energy sector, the path to change course is clear: accelerate electrification by investing in renewable generation infrastructure, networks, storage and green hydrogen. By anticipating the development of clean energies, we avoid a worsening of the consequences of global warming in our societies, we increase our self-sufficiency and our security of supply, and we generate new opportunities for industrialization and employment.
For this reason, in recent months the objective of tripling renewable capacity on a global scale by 2030 and achieving the objectives planned for 2050, twenty years ahead, has been set. And it is possible to do it. Renewables are already the main growth vector of global electricity generation. The technological revolution that we have experienced in recent years has meant that, for example, a new wind installation today requires three times less investment than a coal one, in addition to avoiding the costs of purchasing fuel and emission rights.
To achieve this objective, the public and private sectors must walk in step and join forces. With a clear energy policy, with defined medium and long-term objectives and with corresponding regulation. But also with companies determined to commit and, above all, to comply. Because let’s not forget that governments are not on the other side of the table, not even today’s society. There are the coming generations and the future of the planet. Let’s give a future to our future.