By Noah Browning
LONDON – Equity index compiler MSCI said on Tuesday the world’s listed companies were on a course to cause global warming of 2.9 degrees Celsius, well above a target to limit the worst effects of climate change on the planet.
Fewer than half of all global listed companies align with a 2 degree temperature increase, and only just over a tenth conform to the most ambitious 1.5 degree temperature rise scenario, MSCI said in its quarterly Net-Zero Tracker.
The findings underscore how much the world’s established companies must transform their business practices to make good on pledges governments have made to lower emissions.
A global deal agreed in Paris in 2015 set the goal of preventing global warming above 1.5 degrees – the limit that scientists say could prevent irreversible climate change.
MSCI said listed firms needed immediately to begin reining in their carbon intensity by 8-10% annually until 2050 in order to limit temperature change to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era.
“A planet that is 2.9 degrees warmer by 2100 is not just a more volatile world, it is a dislocated world. ‘Disorderly transition’ scenarios are a euphemism for chaos,” said Sylvain Vanston, MSCI’s executive director of climate change investment research.
“Every step by companies to cut their absolute emissions and every effort by policymakers to drive momentum is critical because every tenth of a degree matters.”
The temperature rise is down from 3 degrees in MSCI’s projection in March due to more listed companies publishing emissions targets, but most listed companies have still not set any net zero goals.
(Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Mark Potter)