A large number of the world's biggest energy companies endorse a global climate agreement that would commit to limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a survey released Wednesday.
Thirteen of the 28 largest energy companies in the world said their board of directors would support an international agreement. The other 15 oil, gas and coal majors either did not respond, stated that they had no opinion on the matter, or indicated that their position on it was not public. The disclosures were made in response to an inquiry from CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, a United Kingdom-based organization that works with companies on environmental announcements.
Russia-based Gazprom, U.S.-based ConocoPhillips and Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell were among the companies that said they support a climate agreement that includes the limit of 2 degrees of warming that world leaders have agreed to in international negotiations.
CDP notes that this support comes even as scientists have found that the world cannot burn all its fossil fuel reserves without passing the 2 degree Celsius threshold.
"The biggest, most crazy lie I've ever read anywhere is that the massive industrial program that will result in a low-carbon economy is a job-killer," CDP Executive Chair Paul Dickinson said in an interview with The Huffington Post. Businesses, he argued, are "basically rational," and see the economic opportunities for growth in clean energy, transportation and infrastructure as the world addresses climate change.
Dickinson predicts the support of businesses will help as world leaders prepare for a major international climate summit in Paris later this year. While much has been made of previous climate summits, like the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen, this year's is expected to actually yield a meaningful international accord.
"The problem in Copenhagen was that business didn't really back that one," he said. "But they get it now. … It's impossible to overstate influence of business. They have looked a this pretty soberly, sensibly, and they want to do it."
Still, a number of major energy companies declined to state a position, including U.S.-based Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hess and Occidental Petroleum.