No time for Europe to rest on low-carbon laurels – report

9 Nov 2010

There is a greater need for top European companies to cut their pollution, a newly released report says.

The recently released Carbon Disclosure Project Report claims Europe will fail to meet EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) emission cap by 2020 if the current trajectory of Europe 300 companies continue the way they are.

The CDP report also says that, despite Europe’s largest companies leading the world in reporting carbon emissions, they need to step up to the plate when it comes to cutting emissions.

The report found that renewable energies presented indicators that some of the largest European companies have “built significant capacities in low-carbon technologies and have been seizing opportunities to participate in the transition to a low-carbon economy”.

84pc disclosure

Among the positives in the report, it lists that European 300 index is maintaining its place as leader in terms of disclosure at 84pc, which is up 2pc from 2009. Around 50pc of companies were found to verify independently more than 80pc of their emissions data and direct carbon emissions fell sharply, 7pc, mainly due to the economic crisis. The report says it is encouraging that more than twice as many European firms had their emissions data independently verified than other regions.

“Europe cannot afford to rest on its laurels – on the contrary. The US, China, Korea and other major economies are investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and infrastructure. Ensuring Europe maintains its leadership position and reaps the full economic benefits of the low-carbon revolution requires a continued strong push,” said Connie Gedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action.

Emission targets will expire by 2012

However, the report also found that 79pc of responding companies have set emission targets but the majority will expire by 2012. A reported €31bn reported by companies for alternative energy and energy efficiency project fell well below the 2009 equivalent of around €100bn, while annual emission cuts are falling short of the planned decrease in the absolute emission cap under the EU ETS.

The CDP helps to provide the transparency to companies and encourages them to take steps to manage their carbon emissions.