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Confessions of a carbon emitter: Fortescue founder’s passionate plea to accelerate decarbonisation

‘We have to do it fast, we have to move,’ Forrest urges Nor-Shipping audience

With time of the essence, FMG founder and chairman Andrew Forrest sends clear message to shipping to get its act together if serious about zero-carbon future

ANDREW Forrest, chairman and founder of the Fortescue Metals Group, today used the platform of Nor-Shipping to issue a passionate plea to shipping to stop wasting time in decarbonising the industry.

In a heartfelt speech, in which he acknowledged the Australian company’s considerable carbon contribution — one that ships 200m tonnes of iron ore and around 150,000 car carrier shipments globally each year — he said he felt a deep sense of responsibility as global temperatures continued their upward trajectory.

“Global warming is seriously accelerating, and shipping is a major part of that problem,” Forrest said.

Shipping, he stressed, will be accountable to at least 10% of the global warming budget and much of this will be in black carbon, which traps heat into the atmosphere and prevents heat from being dissipated out into space.

“We have a very serious responsibility. I feel it on my chest every single day. I’m looking for my friends across the world in global shipping to take that project from your chest as well. We can lead but we are living in a world of complacency. This is anthropogenic destruction if we don't change.”

Forrest also took aim at oil and gas companies championing LNG as “a cure”.

“It’s not cure at all, it’s methane. It is 80 times more dangerous in the first 20 years than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent.”

These initial years are crucial, he said, and not the lesser impact over a century LNG’s proponents measure.

“We may not be here in 100 years so that measurement is ridiculous,” Forrest said.

He also said that the industry must refrain from arguments over which fuel, be it methane or ammonia, should be sounded out as the fuel of choice.

“We can’t afford to turn this polluting shipping industry ship of ours around slowly. We have to do it fast; we have to move.

“Let’s not bicker about which fuels are better. If you think you have a fuel which will stop emissions getting into your engines, get going, take a risk and stop waiting for someone else.

“I think green ammonia is a solution. It won’t be the only one. But I know this for sure, all of us must work now hard on the solutions because time is running out.”

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