The research for the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) was carried out by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. It analysed the climate Management Quality and Carbon Performance of 57 of the world’s largest and highest-emitting public companies involved in automobile manufacturing, air transportation and international freight shipping.
The key finding was that 35% of transport companies have emission reduction plans consistent with the national pledges made in Paris in 2015. However, “less than one fifth (19%) have emissions reduction plans in line with a path to keep global warming to 2°C or below”.
TPI noted that shipping accounts for around 3% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and “has been labelled a worst offender environmentally”, due to its use of heavy bunker fuel. “However the TPI research calculates emissions intensity, i.e. emissions relative to cargo mass and distance transported – and finds that eight out of 13 shipping companies (61%) are already aligned with the more ambitious 2°C or below benchmarks for 2030”. In comparison with aviation and auto manufacturing “the largest publicly-owned shipping companies are surprisingly green in terms of emissions intensity” TPI stated.
On the aviation sector TPI said its “climate governance is improving, but airlines’ Carbon Performance is worse than any other sector analysed by TPI except oil and gas”. It also noted investors are critical of aviation’s dependence on offsetting to achieve carbon reductions.
While shipping was “the best ranking of all sectors analysed by TPI in terms of emissions intensity”, TPI cautioned that performance is not consistent across the whole industry. The study was limited to the 13 largest publicly-owned companies engaged in international shipping, “which tend to operate newer, larger vessels, which have lower carbon intensities are therefore are unlikely to be representative of the sector as a whole.”