Limiting global warming to 1.5C is bottom of the list for global businesses’ desired outcomes at this year’s Cop28, new research has shown.
The findings suggest the business world has a lack of confidence in the Glasgow Climate Pact pledge to “keep 1.5C alive” from Cop26, according to researchers from advisory firm East & Partners and consultancy Impact & Influence.
The research, published today, comes exactly six months ahead of the global climate conference Cop28 in Dubai in November.
The research follows warnings from scientists earlier this month that the world is likely to breach 1.5C in the next five years.
Scientists have warned that going beyond 1.5C will likely trigger irreversible tipping points that would lead to a collapse of life on Earth.
Professor Johan Rockstrom, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the Innovation Zero Congress in London last week: “1.5C is not a target. I call this a physical limit.
“At 1.5C, we have five big tipping point systems that are likely to be crossed. One is the West Antarctic ice sheet. The other one is the Greenland ice sheet. The third one is all the tropical coral reef systems.
“The fourth one is abrupt thawing of permafrost in the boreal zone and the fifth one is the sea ice in the Bering Sea. These are likely to be crossed at 1.5C, but we don’t know how many years can we stay beyond 1.5C before that tipping point is permanently occurring.”
The researchers, who spoke with more than 1,300 businesses after reaching out to the top 100 earning firms in 14 countries including the UK, found that the global business world is most concerned with having a stronger voice in discussions at Cop28.
Business leaders across the majority of markets highlighted “private sector engagement” as the key theme for Cop28 that is most relevant to their business.
This was followed by climate finance reform, green innovation and technology, biodiversity, inclusion, and finally “keeping 1.5C alive”.
The findings have prompted concerns that businesses are losing sight of the bigger picture of helping to limit global warming to 1.5C.
“It’s alarming that ‘keeping 1.5C 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.”
Paul Dowling, co-founder of East & Partners, added: “Collaborative efforts between governments and businesses are essential for achieving our global climate goals – not least keeping 1.5C alive.”
The UN has said global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest and decrease by 43% by 2030 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels – the target set in the Paris Agreement.
Scientists say Earth is currently on track to warm by 2.5C by 2100 which will completely melt the big ice sheets, thaw permafrost, destroy rainforests and lead to a collapse of marine life while rendering around a third of the equator uninhabitable for humans.
The researchers said they spoke to more than 90 per cent of businesses from the top 100 by revenue in the UK, Brazil, Canada, US, China, Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, France, Germany, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates during a two-week period ending on March 14.
Rebecca Speare-Cole is the PA sustainability reporter.