OSLO (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s top 500 companies rose 3.1 percent from 2010 to 2013, far off the cuts urged by the United Nations to limit global warming, a study showed on Monday.
The top 500 firms by capitalization accounted for 13.8 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions and 28 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, according to the report, drawn up by the information provider Thomson Reuters and BSD Consulting, a global sustainability consultancy.
“Almost all of us use products from these companies,” said Tim Nixon, Director of Sustainability at Thomson Reuters. “This is about transparency. We hope companies will look at the report and engage with their stakeholders to reduce emissions.”
A path set out last month by the U.N. Environment Programme, intended to limit global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, implied a 4.2 percent fall in world emissions between 2010 and 2013.
Almost 200 nations have set 2 degrees C as a ceiling to limit the extra droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels that scientists see as the consequence of global warming.
Governments will try to work out a U.N. climate deal in late 2015 at a summit in Paris to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap the sun’s heat.
The top corporate greenhouse gas emitters in 2013 were PetroChina Co Ltd, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. and steel maker ArcelorMittal, the report said.
Big companies with a more than 10 percent decline in emissions between 2010 and 2013 were led by ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy Corp and Dominion Resources Inc.
Large firms whose emissions rose more than 10 percent in the period were led by the metals and mining group Glencore, Russia’s Surgutneftegas and Exelon Corp. The data came from businesses themselves and estimates from Thomson Reuters Asset4.
John Moorhead, executive manager of BSD, noted that many of the top 500 companies, especially in finance, information technology or telecoms, had relatively low emissions.
But he said they could have a huge influence on emissions beyond their company’s borders in their choice of suppliers.
Editing by Kevin Liffey