Fossil fuel majors say they back global climate deal

Madeleine Cuff

Many of the world's largest energy firms support a global deal to limit warming to 2C, says CDP

Some of the world's largest fossil fuel producers would support a global deal to tackle climate change, sustainable investment campaign body CDP has revealed as negotiations continue this week at the United Nations headquarters in Bonn, Germany.

CDP - formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project - has received climate change information from more than 2,000 listed companies, including 28 of the world's largest energy firms. It asked each company whether its organisation's board of directors support an international agreement to limit climate change to below 2C.

None of the energy firms responded "no", despite widespread agreement that such a deal would require large swathes of the world's fossil fuel reserves to be left unburned.

Nearly half of the energy firms explicitly backed a global agreement, including Russian natural gas firm Gazprom and US oil and gas firm Conoco Phillips, said CDP. Eight said they had no opinion on the matter, while seven did not respond to the question.

Among the wider group of respondents, 806 companies said they would support a global agreement, compared to 111 in opposition. The majority, numbering 1,075 organisations, said they had no opinion on the topic, and 330 did not respond to the question.

CDP's executive chairman, Paul Dickinson, said governments should listen to the strong business voice in support of climate action, rather than be influenced by firms who would prefer to see environmental priorities downgraded.

"Companies are telling us - and their investors - that they welcome climate action, which brings prosperity and growth," he said in a statement.

According to CDP, firms in industrial and consumer-facing sectors often cite market leadership through technological innovation as one of the main reasons for support of a global climate deal, while in the financial sector economic stability is a key driver of support.

The findings echo remarks made last week by former Treasury adviser Lord Stern, who said tackling climate change did not have to mean sacrificing economic growth.

The results of the latest CDP survey should also add to the growing pressure for the international community to deliver a strong climate agreement in Paris later this year.

Less than nine negotiating days are left before the Paris summit, and at the current round of talks in Bonn officials are working to streamline the 83-page draft text into something more manageable.

UN officials were upbeat as the talks kicked off earlier this week, after it revealed that over 50 countries have now submitted their official national climate action plans - a higher number than expected by this point in the process. However, progress remains painstakingly slow and it is widely expected any deal will fail to deliver on the 2C target without an additional mechanism to ensure countries ratchet up ambition over the coming years.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC

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