The rebounding global economy is leading to a surge in greenhouse gas emissions, pushing the targets adopted under the Paris Agreement further out of reach, according to MSCI Inc.
The financial data firm reported that the world’s publicly traded companies are currently on track to cause a 3°C rise in average global temperature with their emissions, and that less than 10% of companies are positioned to limit average global temperature to rise to 1.5°C.
According to its Net-Zero Tracker — which captures emissions across a global universe of 9,300 public companies — at current levels, the room to limit global warming to 1.5°C will be exhausted by November 2026.
This projection is five months earlier than estimated when the quarterly tracker was first launched in July.
“The rapidly shrinking timeframe is being driven by the significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions from public companies as global economic activity rebounds,” MSCI said, noting that public company emissions are set to rise by 6.7% this year as a result.
Currently, less than half of public companies are aligned with a 2°C temperature rise, it said, and no sector or region is aligned with the 2°C target.
“The findings of the MSCI Net-Zero Tracker should dramatically increase the world’s sense of urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the extreme weather events of 2021 have reminded us, climate change is not a ‘potential’ problem 30 or 40 years down the road. It is a clear and present danger to our way of life right now,” said MSCI chairman and CEO Henry Fernandez in a release.
“What we do over the next half-decade — and especially at COP26 in Glasgow — could make the difference between avoiding or experiencing the worst climate impacts. We urge firm action rather than words at COP26 to divert the world from an imminent crisis and chart a path toward a sustainable future,” he added.
The firm also warned that climate-related disclosure is still lacking, and it called on global policymakers to mandate reporting.
“While it is encouraging that some of the world’s largest listed companies are taking important steps by broadening their emissions reporting and setting decarbonization targets, the Net-Zero Tracker shows that major gaps still remain as many are failing to disclose this crucial information,” said Remy Briand, global head of ESG and climate at MSCI.
“Without accurate disclosures, the chances of companies and investors reaching net-zero is a distant reality. We call on policymakers and financial regulators at COP26 to make climate-related disclosures based on international standards mandatory,” he said.