Most of highest polluting firm not meeting Paris accord targets

New data shows that the majority of the most polluting firms haven’t aligned their businesses with the Paris accord, claims the Climate Action 100+.

The group, which is the largest investor initiative tackling climate change, argues that its members need to increase the pressure on offending companies, while also stating that just 9 per cent of the largest polluters are aligned with the two degree Celsius global warming targets.

The initiative, which oversees $35 trillion (£28.6 trillion), hopes its members can push corporate boards to change and work toward cutting their net emissions to zero by 2050, a request that will drastically alter life for many of the world’s biggest companies.

Climate Action 100+ has already pushed some companies, including oil majors Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, to act more aggressively in cutting carbon emissions as the world seeks to reduce the risks of climate change. While those were key victories for the group, they’re now indicating it was only the opening salvo of a bigger battle.

“Investor engagement through Climate Action 100+ is playing a major role in changing corporate attitudes on climate change,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, the vice chair of the initiative, in a statement. “We must now build on the momentum achieved to date if we are to succeed in addressing the climate crisis.”

The global investor group formed in 2017, aimed at identifying the largest corporate emitters and then using members’ ability to talk to directors and managers, file shareholder resolutions and vote at annual general meetings to nudge companies toward acting on climate change. Some of its 373 members have persuaded the hard-nosed miner Glencore Plc to cap its thermal coal output and gotten shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk A/S to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050, among other accomplishments.

Still, Climate Action 100+ said in a report there are “crucial” weaknesses in the corporate approach to the issue of climate change that need to be addressed. In addition to the large number of companies which would push the world toward warming more than 2 degrees Celsius with their current business strategies, companies are also probably lobbying governments in ways that prevent helpful climate policies.

Climate Action 100+ said only 8 per cent of the overall 161 companies it targets do enough to ensure their lobbying activities align “with necessary action on climate change.” Its members will make preventing “obstructive, negative or evasive lobbying” a cornerstone of its pressure campaign on corporations going forward, according to a statement.

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