Greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s top 500 companies rose 3.1% 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 capitalisation accounted for 13.8% of world greenhouse gas emissions and 28% 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 UN Environment Programme, intended to limit global temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial times, implied a 4.2% fall in world emissions between 2010 and 2013.
Almost 200 nations have set 2C 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 UN 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% 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.