Friday, 14 September 2012 16:43

Businesses Begin to Plan for Climate Change

Written by  Jessie
This bar graph shows global greenhouse gas emissions by sector from 1990 to 2005, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents. This bar graph shows global greenhouse gas emissions by sector from 1990 to 2005, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents. US Environmental Protection Agency

A survey released this week showed increasing oversight by top executives in their climate change strategies.  Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated their company's board or high-level executive had oversight over climate strategies, which is an increase of six percentage points from the 2011 survey.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) received responses from 338 of the S&P 500 firms indicating progress in carbon emissions reduction goals as well as disclosing these results.  CDP offers a system for cities and companies to measure and share their environmental action.

Companies such as Microsoft Corp, United Parcel Service, Hess Corp, Pepco Holdings, and Sempra Energy Utilities are not waiting to address the risks from climate change to their overall business goals.  Man-made or not, these companies won’t wait around to figure out who caused climate change.  They’re taking steps now to lessen their financial risk.

Eighty-one percent of survey respondents identified physical risk from climate change, with 37 percent considering the risks "a real and present danger" – an increase of 10 percent from two years ago.  Eighty-three percent of companies reported that climate change had been factored into corporate risk management strategies, which was only at 75 percent in 2011.

These results directly contrast with a distinct hesitation in the regulation of greenhouse gases by U.S. lawmakers.  Congress’ opinions on climate change run the gamut from ambivalence to skepticism to even outright disbelief.  Fortunately businesses that are beholden to their shareholders see the value in planning for climate change since it will certainly impact their bottom lines.

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