Instead of arriving by private jet, like most millionaires, Andrew Forrest landed in Dubai with the Green Pioneer, a ship converted from diesel to green ammonia. And instead of exerting his influence in the corridors and in the closed-door meetings of COP28, the Australian tycoon has decided to sponsor a flashy advertising campaign against the fossil fuel industry in the pages of the New York Times, TheWall Street Journal or Financial Times.

"Oil and gas, here's the science you've missed," reads the ad, illustrated with a photo of an ostrich burying its head in the sand. In high-profile speeches on the sidelines of the conferences, Forrest recalled all that is at stake at COP28: "We have not yet seen any announcement that would allow us to ensure the ultimate success of this conference with a commitment to end the use of fossil fuels."

Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, 62, is considered Australia's second-richest man, with an estimated net worth of around €20 billion. He is best known in his homeland for his philanthropic work through the Minderoo Foundation, for his advocacy for Aboriginal rights and for his love of rugby. He made his fortune from the iron mines with his company Fortescue Metals and a decade ago he was accused of tax evasion.

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At this point, it hasn't hurt him to sing the mea culpa: "I've been part of the problem, but at least I'm changing. The rest of the problem is 99% of those who are acting on us as fast as they should." His company, Fortescue, this week published an open letter to world leaders, backed by 60 scientists and warning of the combined risk of rising temperatures and humidity in densely populated tropical and subtropical areas.

With a PhD in Economics and Marine Sciences from the University of the West of Austalia, Forrest has emphasized the effects of "lethal humidity that is already killing people" and that could affect 3,000 million humans in the areas most exposed to climate change.

"The time for excuses and evasion is over," Forrest told The Guardian. "We have solutions to phase out fossil fuels, and that's where we should be getting to. And those who say they can't, let them leave the stage and leave those who are willing."

"It would be of enormous historical relevance if this were achieved at COP28," warns Forrest, who warns against the temptation to include only fossil fuels "without mitigation" and fall into what he himself calls "the old lie of carbon sequestration".

Open Letter to World Leaders

In his open letter to leaders, the Australian billionaire calls for the implementation of "positive power plans" that contemplate the abandonment of the exploitation and use of fossil fuels and accelerated replacement with renewable sources and "green growth stimuli" promoted by governments.

Forrest has been especially critical of "the new oil rush" in the North Sea promoted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and has threatened to withdraw its investments from the UK "for lack of proper leadership". He has also lashed out at Australian Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese over his decision to press ahead with fossil fuel exploitation beyond 2030.
"We have to understand that if we approve fossil fuel projects, of any kind, we are doing so to the detriment of renewable energy projects," the Australian tycoon warned. "The question is as simple as this: when are we going to stop burning fossil fuels? It'sa question we should ask any politician and any businessman."

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