Big Business Is Moving Too Slowly On Climate Change, Tracking Group Finds
Big business is heeding the call of climate scientists and pledging to spew fewer planet-warming emissions into the atmosphere. But many companies aren’t acting quickly enough or setting tough enough targets, according to a new study from CDP.
Companies are only 31 percent of the way to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to the levels needed to stave off some of the worst effects of a warming climate, according to the study published Monday night.
The report from environmental nonprofit CDP, which works on behalf of more than 800 investors, is the world’s largest annual tracker of company responses to climate change.
Its release comes just before the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, in which 195 countries pledged to reduce carbon emissions, giving a clear signal to the private sector that it could play an important role in helping countries achieve their goals.
CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) picked a sample of more than 1,800 of the biggest, highest-emitting companies from different sectors and across different countries, including car maker Nissan and consumer goods company Unilever, owner of the brands Ben & Jerry’s and Dove. Combined, these 1,800 companies are responsible for 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
From the 1,073 companies that responded, 89 percent have set emission targets (up from 86 percent in 2016). However, only 14 percent have adopted “science-based targets.” These are more ambitious, long-term targets aligned with climate scientists’ recommendations to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. With a greater temperature increase, we risk catastrophic climate change, including rising sea levels and droughts.
“The majority of responding companies have yet to commit to emissions reduction goals that are equal to the climate threat we face,” noted the report. As a result, companies are less than a third of the way towards where they need to be to meet Paris climate goals.