Big firms brace for global carbon price rollout: report

(Reuters) - An increasing number of big corporations expect governments worldwide to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions to help tackle climate change and some are already factoring in the cost to guide future investment decisions, a report found on Monday.

Some 150 large listed companies - including 29 in the United States such as Dow Chemical Company, banking group Goldman Sachs and oil firm ExxonMobil - now incorporate an internal carbon price ranging from $6-80 per tonne, according to a report by CDP, which gathers environmental information from companies worldwide on behalf of investors.

CDP said the report was the first global analysis of corporate views explicitly mentioning carbon pricing among the 6,000 company disclosures the group gathers annually.

Around 40 nations and over 20 states, regions or cities have either set up or are planning to set up carbon pricing via taxes on emissions or by setting up emissions trading systems that cap emissions and allow companies to buy and sell permits to emit.

In contrast, U.S. federal lawmakers have repeatedly blocked efforts to price carbon emissions at the national level, amid fears over costs and job losses, but California and a group of northeast states have introduced their own policies.

While Australia, one of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2 per capita, this year scrapped a carbon tax arguing it was hurting industry and making power bills rise. Australia also abandoned plans for the world’s third largest emissions trading scheme (ETS) after Europe and Guangdong.

The biggest carbon initiative is the EU Emissions Trading System, on which carbon permits currently trade at around 6.50 euros per tonne each. Together, they account for more than 22 percent of global emissions.

Environmental campaigners, activist investor groups and some lawmakers are putting increasing pressure on big emitting companies to report the risks of their business to climate change regulation.

The CDP report was published a week before 125 world leaders gather in New York for a climate change summit convened by U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

At the summit, private firms such as major banks, the oil industry, and the agricultural sector are expected to urge governments to bolster carbon pricing efforts to help them plan their future investments.

Almost 200 nations have agreed to strike a new climate pact to contain rising greenhouse gas emissions at a summit next December in Paris.

Reporting by Ben Garside in London; Editing by Michael Perry