One final observation from the report: Long-term planning is essential, yet only "84 percent of target deadlines are set to 2012 or before. [This] suggests that businesses are waiting to hear outcomes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December, before setting longer-term reduction goals." Given that companies aren't looking far into the future when setting their carbon-reduction goals, the CDP suggests, "Governments need to agree on clear medium- and long-term reduction goals in Copenhagen to provide a framework for business to set required targets to stimulate companies to embrace longer-term targets."
[ Governments already have gotten involved in steering companies toward cutting CO2 emissions. ]
Heartening though it may be to see more and more companies worldwide rising to the challenge to reduce GHG emissions -- sometimes prodded by customers, governmental bodies, or stockholders -- there's clearly plenty more work that needs to be done. 2050 may seem like a far-away date, and I certainly concede that the IPCC's deadline may be off by a decade. Maybe we'll know more in December as to what needs to be done by when.
In the meantime, it's incumbent on organizations to work harder to cut emissions and to be better environmental stewards -- and not necessarily because the government is telling them to. Yes, there are often cost savings and other potential business benefits associated with reducing CO2 emissions. Preserving the planet, however, is the biggest benefit of all.
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