Company climate change plans too weak to meet Paris goals - survey

OSLO (Reuters) - Plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by big companies represent only a quarter of the amounts needed to limit global warming under targets agreed last year by almost 200 nations, a study showed on Tuesday.

“More companies are acting, but still have a long way to go,” said Paul Simpson, chief executive of London-based CDP, an independent group which tracks companies’ performances and was formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

About 85 percent of 1,089 major companies which responded to a CDP survey said they have set goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions as part of a drive to slow climate change and avert downpours, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

But overall, the plans were not enough to match goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit a rise in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, it said.

If achieved, the company targets would cut their collective emissions by the equivalent of 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide below current levels by 2030, or a quarter of the estimated 4 billion tonnes needed to get on track for 2C.

The gap, of 3 billion tonnes, “is equal to nearly 50 percent of these companies’ current total emissions,” it said.

A few companies, including Dell, Enel, Toyota, Nestle, IKEA [IKEA.UL] and Walmart had strong enough policies to limit emissions by 2030, Simpson told Reuters.

“Some companies have really proved they can do great things,” he said of the findings, produced in partnership with We Mean Business, which represents companies and investors.

CDP said that the report was meant as a benchmark against which to judge future action by companies.

The United Nations says that government plans for action are also too weak to get on track for 2C. Under the Paris Agreement, governments are due to set stronger targets to cut emissions every five years.

Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Alexander Smith