27 Nov 2019, 13:19
Benjamin Wehrmann

Climate targets of Germany's biggest companies incompatible with Paris Agreement goals – report

The emissions reduction targets of several major German companies would violate the Paris Climate Agreement's goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, a report compiled by consulting company right.basedonscience has found. The analysis covering the 30 largest companies listed on Germany's stock index DAX says that global warming would reach nearly 5 degrees Celsius by 2050 if all companies in the world had the same emissions as Germany's leading listed firms, which often are active in emissions-intensive sectors, such as machinery, chemicals or building materials. Only 8 out of the 30 companies have set themselves CO2-reduction targets that would keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius if all other companies reduced emissions in the same way. Carmaker Volkswagen's emissions target, for example, would mean that the world is heading for 3.3 degrees Celsius warming if it was emulated and achieved. For energy company RWE, warming would even reach 9.5 degrees, even though its current targets stipulate reaching climate-neutral power production by 2040. The targets of re-insurance company Munich Re, Deutsche Bank or industrial manufacturer Siemens are likewise insufficient for remaining on a Paris-compatible path, the study found.

The decarbonisation of Germany's industry is key to reaching the country's climate targets and in many cases will require a quick introduction and scaling up of modern low-carbon technologies. The companies’ individual climate targets are becoming more and more important as many investors and forthcoming EU regulation are to make a sound analysis of business strategies' compliance with the so-called ESG (environmental, social and governance) sustainability criteria, a prerequisite for cooperation.

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