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Companies cannot keep shying away from setting tough climate targets

May 22, 2015

Companies cannot keep shying away from setting tough climate targets

Pedro Faria
Friday 22 May 2015 13.17 BST

Today the low carbon economy is worth over £3tn. This fact is just one of many showing how far the business case for addressing climate change has come, with smart businesses broadening their strategy beyond risk management to value creation. Business leaders who shared their vision of a low-carbon future in Paris this week echoed this sentiment, calling on governments to lock in the right frameworks and targets to help deliver this goal.

Yet, despite the emphasis on government target setting, the goals that come from businesses are just as important. Balancing near-term targets with longer-term climate risks is one of the most complex risk management challenges facing company executives today. Businesses increasingly recognise that emissions reductions will need to be ambitious, because going over the 2C warming limit is not a viable economic option.

The good news is that many companies are already setting themselves greenhouse gas reduction goals. In 2014 over 80% of the world’s 500 largest companies reported having an emissions reduction target. But in this critical year for climate action, it is no longer sufficient to set just any target.

For companies, figuring out how much greenhouse gas emissions they can continue to release is one of the biggest hurdles to framing their long term goals. Our analysis of 70 energy intensive companies shows that a small handful are leading the way by setting ambitious and long term emission reduction targets in line with climate science. However, most are not and the majority of targets reported through CDP tend not to extend beyond 2020, suggesting a lack of long-term strategy to stay within the global carbon budget.

Read more at The Guardian.

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