Planning on 4°C rise by 2100?

Planning on 4°C rise?

An oil giant company is betting on a world that will be 4 °C warmer by 2100. What would be its justification when the world is preparing to negotiate on a temperature rise of 2°C or preferably less? The company does not realistically see governments taking the bold and painful steps now that are consistent with 2 °C scenario.

It should be no surprise that oil companies, which publicly talk about the need to limit warming, privately assume this will not happen. Oil companies' value depends on their reserves, and only a fraction of existing reserves can be burned if we are to stay below the 2 °C warming target. If the firms were stopped from fully exploiting their reserves, their value would plummet, leading to a huge stock market crash.

But most investors and oil companies are betting on business as usual, with oil companies still trying to find new fossil fuel reserves. This can be seen in the latest green light to explore the Arctic.

And it is true that governments are not taking the steps necessary to limit warming to 2 °C. Just this week an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report revealed that several governments are subsidising fossil fuel companies to the tune of $5.3 trillion a year – equivalent to 6.5 per cent of global GDP.

And so far it seems that the global deal to rein in further emissions, expected at the Paris Summit in December will not go far enough to change this. (NS)