Less than a fifth of transport companies aligned with Paris goal

9th December 2019

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Natasha Moreno-Roberts

Less than one-fifth of the world's 57 largest transport companies have emission reduction plans aligned with limiting global warming to 2ÀöC above pre-industrial levels.

That is according to a report from the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), which analyses the carbon performance and climate management quality of aviation, automotive and shipping.

Aviation's carbon performance is worse than that of any other sector, except oil and gas, with investors said to be critical of the industry's potential dependence on offsetting.

The largest publicly owned shipping companies are already aligned with 2ÀöC or less of global warming, however, they are unlikely to be representative of the sector as a whole.

And although car manufacturers are getting steadily cleaner, the findings show that only two of the companies studied are projected to align with 2ÀöC of global warming.

In total, 35% of transport firms have emission reduction plans consistent with national climate targets, but these will be insufficient as commitments intensify at the COP 25 summit.

“As the low-carbon transition ratchets up in 2020, the transport sector risks being left behind,“ said Faith Ward, co-chair of the TPI, which is backed by investors managing over $15trn (£11.4trn).

Direct emissions from transport currently account for nearly one-quarter of total energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide.

The latest report shows that 61% of shipping companies are now aligned with below 2ÀöC of global warming by 2030, achieving the highest rating for carbon intensity in transport.

Nine of the 21 automotive firms studied improved their climate management quality score this year, with 59% incorporating climate change into executive remuneration, and 77% disclosing their products' emissions.

However, most aviation targets beyond 2020 are based on net emissions and offsetting, which the TPI discounts due to uncertainty quantifying the success of offset projects.

Wizz Air is the only airline aligned with keeping global warming below 2C.

“Airlines' own operational emissions must fall in order to achieve climate targets, so reduction strategies that rely too heavily on offsetting are not credible, said report lead author, professor Simon Dietz.

Airlines that set net emission reduction targets need to provide more information on how much their gross emissions will fall and how much will depend on offsets.“

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