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August 25, 2009
Emissions Reduction Targets of Largest Companies Fail to Meet Scientific Standards
    by Robert Kropp

Report from the Carbon Disclosure Project analyzes emissions reduction targets of the world's 100 largest companies, and warns that targets are insufficient to meet scientific guidelines.

According to the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), published by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced by 80-95% by 2050 if the most dangerous effects of climate change climate change are to be avoided.

A recently issued analysis by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), entitled The Carbon Chasm, studied the climate change mitigation efforts of the 100 largest companies in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series, and found that their efforts were insufficient for meeting the minimum annual global reduction rate of 3.9%. The report found that the top 100 companies are on track for an annual reduction rate of only 1.9%.

The research for the report was gathered from the voluntary annual reporting on GHG emissions provided by companies to the CDP.

While 73% of the companies analyzed do report some form of emissions reduction target, the fact that more than a quarter fail to disclose any reduction targets at all contributes significantly to the insufficient overall annual rate of emissions reduction. Furthermore, only 54% of companies in the high-impact energy sector, which includes oil and gas, have CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) emissions reduction targets in place. CO2-e measures the concentration of CO2 in greenhouse gases.

The report also found that 84% of companies have established emissions reduction target deadlines set to 2012 or before. According to the report, this suggests that companies are waiting for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen in December (COP-15) to establish targets over the longer term.

The report concludes with several recommendations. All companies should set CO2-e reduction targets, and the targets must include clear baseline and target years. Governments must come to agreement in Copenhagen for medium and long term reduction goals, in order to provide companies with a framework for establishing reduction targets. Finally, targets set by companies should use the scientific findings of the IPCC as guidance.


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