COP 25 summit: Big businesses get their act together on climate change

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Nations have begun negotiations on the global carbon markets.
As world leaders continue deliberations at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid to decide the emission targets in line with the Paris Agreement, 285 companies that emit more than 752 million tonne of CO2 equivalent annually have set reduced greenhouse gas emission targets to avert climate change. These companies will reduce their emissions by 265 million tonnes or by about 35%, a report published by the Science Based Targets initiative in Madrid on Wednesday.
These companies will invest up to $18 billion to generate up to 90 TW of renewable energy annually, enough to power 11 million American households. More than 90% of them have also set huge emissions reduction targets for their value chains, equivalent to 3.9 billion tonne of CO2 equivalent annually, close to 90% of the European Union’s annual emissions.
Companies such as ThyssenKrupp AG, Royal DSM and Heidelberg Cement are in the process of getting their science-based targets approved. About a fifth of these companies are based in developed countries such as Finland, France, Denmark and Japan. There are 52 Japanese companies with approved targets as Japan’s ministry of environment has set a target of 100 companies with approved targets by next year.
Nine Indian companies have got their science-based targets approved till date. India is an exception among emerging markets that have very few companies taking part in climate action.
Leaders of nations have begun negotiations on the global carbon markets, key to keep average global temperature rise under 2 degree from 2020. The talks need to resolve several contentious topics related to carbon trading among 197 nations by December 13. The carbon market governed by the Kyoto Protocol will need fresh norms under the Paris Agreement. Nations that cross their emission target can sell carbon credits to others that lag behind.
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Sajna Nair is a former banker. Her areas of interest are environment, art and culture.