greenhouse gas emissions

Top 250 firms failing to cut emissions despite creating a third of mankind’s output

Image credit: dt

Despite accounting for a third of greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s top 250 companies are failing to enact measures to reduce their impact.

The joint study from Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk and Constellation Research & Technology found that Coal India, Gazprom and Exxon Mobil were the most egregious emitters.

“Without continual reduction in emissions from this group of companies, effectively mitigating the long-term risks of climate change is not possible,” say the study’s authors.

The Paris Agreement, which was signed by nearly 200 nations in 2015, was designed to encourage countries to cut emissions through legislation in order to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change.

But the global agreement has faced difficulties in recent months after US president Donald Trump pulled his country out of it citing its negative impact upon American jobs. 

In the past three years, emissions from the group of 250 had been flat “when they should have been going down by roughly three per cent per year” to limit temperatures in line with goals set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the report said.

It also found that only 30 per cent of the 250 firms had set strong goals to curb their emissions.

“250 CEOs - that’s a relatively small auditorium if you can bring together the leaders who really have a significant impact on the fate of the planet,” said David Lubin, the report’s co-author.

Tim Nixon, a co-author at Thomson Reuters, said the study found “no evidence” that companies adopting stronger policies to reduce their carbon emissions paid a penalty in terms of shareholder returns, profits or employment.

Almost 200 nations will meet in Bonn, Germany, next week to work on a detailed ‘rule book’ for the Paris Agreement and ways to bolster the pact after Trump’s planned withdrawal.

Meanwhile, China’s carbon trading scheme has been facing significant problems, according to a senior climate official for the country.

Li Gao, an official with the climate change department of China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a briefing in Beijing that establishing a national emissions trading system was “complex” and involved constant testing and continuous adjustments.

The nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been set up in response to the Paris Agreement but unreliable data has been hampering its launch.

China is already the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases and it has pledged to bring them to a peak by around 2030 by promoting cleaner energy use and emissions trading.

Its nationwide ETS is expected to become the world’s biggest once it goes into operation, overtaking the European Union’s.

“In the course of these pilot projects we gained good experiences and discovered some problems which are of great value to our efforts to launch the national scheme,” Gao said.

He didn’t say when China would be in a position to launch the scheme, or whether an announcement would be made during next week’s climate talks.

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