The world's 100 largest companies have set carbon reduction targets that are too little and too late to avoid dangerous climate change, according to research published by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

It shows that the Global 100 are currently on track for an annual reduction of just 1.9% per annum which is below the 3.9% needed in order to cut emissions in developed economies by 80% in 2050. According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), developed economies must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The research report 'The Carbon Chasm' was conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), based on data reported to CDP in 2008, and supported by BT, to analyse how the world's largest 100 companies currently set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and whether they are sufficient to combat long term climate change.

Of those emissions reduction targets with a deadline, a majority (84%) are set up to and including 2012, which correlates with the final year of the Kyoto Protocol and suggests that businesses may be waiting to hear outcomes of the UN Conference of the Parties meeting in Copenhagen this December before they set longer term reduction goals.

Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: "While 73% of Global 100 companies have set some form of reduction target, the majority need to be far more aggressive if they are to achieve the long-term reductions required. This is a time of huge opportunity for businesses to gain competitive advantage by reducing their own impact on the climate and benefit from associated cost savings, as well as sparking major innovation around the production of new, lower carbon products and services."