European companies are leading the world in climate action

Encouragingly more than a third of the largest EU companies have targets to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement. Now to get the rest to do so.  Madeleine Cuff explains in an article on the inews website. As we talk about the industrial sector, it is unfortunate that the corona virus crisis has forced the postponement of the eceee industrial efficiency 2020 conference. Giving energy efficiency a priority is more important than ever. EiD is a member of eceee and Rod is a panel leader at the upcoming event and member of the eceee board. We certainly hope that you will consider attending.  eceee needs your support to continue to be the voice of energy efficiency in Europe. We also need you to ensure industrial energy efficiency is given a higher priority throughout Europe.

 

European companies are leading the transition to a low-carbon world

European companies are leading the world in climate action, with more than a third of the largest European corporates targeting carbon cuts in line with goals set by a UN treaty.

Companies like Swedish steel maker SSAB, Danish shipping leader Maersk, and UK paper company DS Smith are all planning to cut emissions in line with global targets on climate change

Data released by the Transition Pathway Initiative assessed the 238 largest energy, industrial and transport companies on their progress to tackle climate change.

About 36 per cent of the European companies assessed have plans to cut emissions in line with 2C or 1.5C – the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement. In comparison, only 16 per cent of American companies, 10 per cent of Japanese companies and five per cent of Chinese companies have similar targets.

Streets ahead

In particular, utilities and paper companies are reducing their emissions the fastest, averaging a carbon cut of four per cent a year.

But overall companies around the world are still not doing enough to cut pollution, the study warned. In total just 18 per cent of firms have emissions trajectories in line with the Paris Agreement, although that is up from 16 per cent last year.

The study warns there is a “wide gulf” between company targets and the actual emissions of the steel and cement sectors, with emissions still rising in many cases.

“Our analysis shows that, not only have relatively few companies set emissions targets aligned with the Paris Agreement goals, not all of the companies that have done so are actually on track to meet those targets,” said Professor Simon Dietz, research lead for the Transition Pathway Initiative.

The study was completed before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, causing a dramatic slowdown in the global economy. Co-chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative Faith Ward warned that despite the pandemic governments and investors must not lose sight of the need to decarbonise.

“The International Energy Agency has warned that, while carbon emissions will likely decline this year, in the medium term the coronavirus outbreak could slow down the low carbon transition, as green investments are put on hold by cash-strapped governments and businesses,” she said.

“It is therefore of deep concern that so few companies were on the right path before the virus struck. Investors must use their influence to ensure that climate commitments are not discarded in the face of financial pressures.”

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