Climate change not priority for Indian firms: study
By Krittivas Mukherjee
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Most firms in India, one of the world's worst polluters, are yet to plan for the impact of climate change on their businesses, do not measure emissions or have deadlines to curb them, a study said on Thursday.
However, many Indian companies are aware of the commercial opportunities presented by global warming, according to the survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global agency working towards a low-carbon economy.
Only about a third of 110 top companies polled responded to the survey that sought information on opportunities and risks from climate change, emission levels and strategies to cut pollution, among other issues.
The CDP report said climate change would hurt some companies that did not respond and it was likely that many of them did not have risk-management strategies in place.
"An enormous amount of work still needs to be done by Indian companies to catch up with their global peers," said Paul Simpson, a senior CDP official.
"The survey findings provide a case for efforts towards awareness building and training on greenhouse gas accounting for Indian companies."
In contrast, more and more global corporations were providing for risks and opportunities presented by climate change and were factoring them while planning projects, he said.
Booming economies such as China and India have been criticized by the West for refusing to commit to emissions targets, despite being among the world's top polluters.
India contributes about 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions as its consumption of fossil fuels rises, but official estimates say it will still be below 5 percent of global emissions in 2020.
The per-capita emissions are expected to be lower than the average in developed countries.
The report said Indian firms were enthusiastic about business opportunities from climate change, including carbon trading and research and development of new products and technologies.
"This is indicative of Indian companies' appreciation of the commercial potential rather than the depth with which they have engaged with the climate change challenge," it said.
India has refused to commit to emissions targets, saying it must use more energy to lift its millions out of poverty. The government says this is something rich nations, which have burnt fossil fuels unhindered for over a century, should understand.
India's greenhouse gas emissions are largely accounted for by the power, steel, cement and chemicals sector.
New Delhi is working on a national plan to tackle global warming by the end of this year and Indian experts say the country has already achieved substantial energy efficiency.
(Editing by Y.P. Rajesh and David Fogarty)