Andrew Forrest, a billionaire in the mining industry, fiercely criticizes the oil and gas sector.
Australian mining tycoon Andrew Forrest has taken advantage of the Cop28 climate summit to fund advertisements in over 10 prominent newspapers globally, criticizing the oil and gas sector and advocating for the gradual elimination of fossil fuels.
Forrest, who this year ranked as Australia’s second richest person, with a net worth of A$33.3bn (£17.4bn), placed an ad in the Friday edition of papers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, Times of India, Australian Financial Review and the Australian.
Fortescue, under the leadership of Forrest, used a display advertisement featuring an ostrich burying its head in the sand. The text above the bird read: “Oil and gas, the science you’ve overlooked.”
During the climate summit in the United Arab Emirates, Forrest, a successful iron ore miner turned renewable energy investor and advocate, launched a timely campaign urging for immediate action.
During a break from the Dubai conference, he expressed that Cop28 could hold significant historical significance if countries agreed to phase out fossil fuels rather than just reducing them through carbon sequestration, which he referred to as a false solution. However, if they are unable to come to an agreement on this matter, it would not have the desired impact.
The speaker expressed surprise that a proposal to eliminate fossil fuels would receive widespread attention, given the influence of lobbyists from petrostates and the fossil fuel industry. However, they find it even more significant that the scientific evidence is gaining traction, and anyone who denies or disregards it should be held accountable for their actions.
“Simply put, the most important question to ask everyone, including industrialists and politicians, is when will we stop using fossil fuels? Instead of asking about their plans for achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or becoming more environmentally friendly, the focus should be on this crucial issue.”
Forrest, a marine scientist with professional training, has been conducting lectures this year regarding the growing danger of “deadly humidity.” This refers to a threshold at which the body has difficulty regulating its temperature. He also claims to have urged governments of high-emission countries to take action on this issue.
Fortescue recently released a public statement addressed to “world leaders”, which was signed by 60 scientists. The statement emphasized the scientific agreement that increasing levels of humidity and heat present a significant and escalating danger to humanity, especially in densely populated tropical and subtropical regions.
The letter and ads called for support for Forrest’s “positive power plan” that involved completely phasing out fossil fuels, replacing it with renewable energy and introducing economic stimulants to encourage “green growth and transformation”.
He explained that his intention for running the ads was to keep the truth going and to ensure that everyone is aware of the dangerous levels of humidity that are causing harm to people.
“More than 3 billion individuals are currently impacted… the era of making excuses and delaying action is over. We possess the means to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels, and that is the direction we must take,” he stated. “If you claim it cannot be done, then perhaps you are correct – it cannot be done. However, it is now time for you to step down and allow someone else to take the lead.”
According to Forrest, as the creator, executive head and primary stakeholder of a company that utilized fossil fuels to generate profit, he acknowledges his contribution to the issue. He restated a phrase he often used during his speaking engagements: “If you’re seeking to hold someone accountable when deadly humidity becomes a reality, start with me. However, do not excuse the other 999 individuals who may not have acted as promptly as we did.”
I am also part of the issue and not just blaming others. However, I am actively making a change.
Woodside, an oil and gas company, recently launched a full-page advertising campaign in Australian newspapers to promote their proposed Scarborough gas field. However, analysts are concerned that this project could result in significant greenhouse gas emissions, potentially reaching billions of tonnes.
Fortescue has recently rebranded as the top global company for combining environmentally-friendly technology and energy with metal production. They have a goal to completely eliminate their emissions by 2030. Despite celebrating their 20th anniversary with a luxurious party in Pilbara, the company has also experienced the departure of multiple high-level employees in a short period of time.
During Cop28, the company and Forrest created a buzz by arriving with a ship called the “Green Pioneer.” This commercial vessel, registered in Singapore, has undergone modifications to allow two of its four engines to operate on a combination of diesel and green ammonia, which is produced from green hydrogen.
The ship was originally fueled by traditional, polluting fossil fuels during its journey to the UAE. However, while in the harbor, it switched to using hydro-treated vegetable oil. According to Fortescue, the first transfer to ammonia fuel is scheduled for February.
On Thursday, Chris Bowen, the Australian Minister for Climate Change, visited the ship. On Friday, John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, is planned to be the main guest at an onboard event that will commemorate the start of pollution-free shipping.