Tuesday 16 January 2018

Carbon emissions of top 50 polluters rise by 1.7pc

Carbon emissions up
Carbon emissions up
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

DESPITE the efforts of governments and NGOs around the world, the carbon footprint of the world's biggest corporate polluters continues to grow.

Research shows that the 50 biggest polluters among the world's top 500 companies saw their carbon emissions rise by an average of 1.7pc since 2009.

The 50 companies include mining firm ArcelorMittal, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil. They are now responsible for three-quarters of all emissions generated by the world's 500 largest companies.

The research, by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), is performed at the behest of 722 investors who control a combined $87tn and want data to assess company performance.

The actual rise in emissions could be even larger than the CDP's conclusion; 90 of the 500 largest listed companies refused to disclose their emissions data for the research. Companies who stayed silent included Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Time Warner, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Caterpillar.

In total, more than a third of the companies that failed to respond were from the US, with only a handful from Europe, dubiously led by fashion companies Hermes and Prada. The second-largest block that refused to divulge data came from China and Hong Kong.

The numbers did not account for indirect emissions generated by activities such as transportation or the energy used by customers consuming products. Pollution from these indirect sources could bump up the total figure by another half.

A UN adviser to governments on climate change is due to publish the first part of its fifth report on the impact of global warming this month. The study will show it's 'extremely likely' humans are to blame for more than half of temperature gains since the 1950s and it is 'virtually certain' sea-level increases have accelerated in the past two centuries.

The CDP report showed that the companies who operated bonus schemes for executives designed to drive emission reductions were most effective at cutting their carbon footprint. A total of 85pc of those who provided financial incentives to their board or employees reported emissions reductions in the past year. In contrast, 67pc of other companies reported reductions.

Irish Independent

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