Businesses worldwide are lacking confidence in the Glasgow Climate Pact’s commitment to “keep 1.5 °C alive” and have already factored in surpassing the target, according to new study
The study, which involved more than 1,300 interviews from the top 100 earning firms in 14 countries, comes six months ahead of the upcoming global climate conference COP28 in Dubai and seeks to understand the key themes businesses are hoping for at the event.
Conducted by advisory firm East & Partners and consultancy Impact & Influence, the research showed how businesses are losing sight of the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, as they prioritise other aspects, such as private sector engagement in climate discussions. The findings suggest that business leaders perceive having a stronger voice in discussions at COP28 as the most relevant theme for their organisations.
Private sector engagement ranked highest among the priorities (30%), followed by climate finance reform (23%), green innovation and technology (20%), biodiversity (12%), inclusion (11%), and finally “keeping 1.5 °C alive” (5%).
“It’s alarming that ‘Keeping 1.5 °C Alive’ ranks so low among global corporates just two years after COP26” said Rishi Bhattacharya, CEO and founder of Impact & Influence. “This suggests they may be pricing in an overshoot. It is more important than ever to communicate the need for business to be part of the solution.
“With COP28 in Dubai approaching, ensuring business involvement in the climate conversation is more crucial than ever, as their participation increases the likelihood of success in addressing climate change.”
The survey coincides with recent warnings from the World Meteorological Organisation, which states there’s a 66% chance of going beyond the 1.5 °C limit in at least one year between 2023 and 2027.
The head of the WMO, Prof Petteri Taalas, explained that this doesn’t mean “we will permanently exceed the 1.5 °C specified in the Paris Agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years.
“However, the WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5ºC level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.”
Given the high stakes and emotional investment involved, COP is no stranger to controversy. During COP26, it faced accusations of being the “most exclusionary” climate summit ever, and COP27 drew criticism for greenwashing due to its sponsorship by Coca-Cola.
COP28 is following suit, with the appointment of Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation (ADNOC), as the UAE’s choice for COP28 president raising eyebrows. With ADNOC employees holding prominent positions in organising the conference, concerns have been raised about the use of diluted language regarding fossil fuels and an overreliance on carbon capture instead of transitioning to sustainable energy sources.
About the study authors
East & Partners
Founded in 1987, East & Partners provides market research and insights into the dynamic and complex global B2B financial services and banking markets. Its analysis and advisory services inform the decision-making of leading commercial, business and institutional banking providers, globally.
Impact & Influence
Impact & Influence is an independent communications consultancy designed for the next generation of leaders, companies, and organisations. It works across sectors and geographies with a range of world-class and trusted partners, and has advised clients at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, and COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
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