Shell, Unilever Seek 1 Trillion-Ton Limit on CO2 Output

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Unilever NV joined 68 other companies in urging world governments to cap cumulative carbon emissions since the industrial revolution to 1 trillion metric tons to contain rising temperatures.

The emissions cap is needed to stabilize the increase in temperatures since the 19th century to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), according to an e-mailed statement. That’s the level beyond which scientists say the rising seas, more intense storms and melting glaciers caused by global warming may become dangerous.

“The threat of climate change is real and urgent,” Skanska AB Chief Executive Officer Johan Karlstrom said in the statement. “From a business point of view, it is already a competitive advantage to be a leader in green but governments can speed up the progress substantially by setting up a level playing field that rewards the leaders in low carbon technology and energy efficiency.”

Governments from 194 nations are working to devise an emissions limiting treaty by the end of next year that will keep a 2-degree lid on temperature rises. They’ll be guided by the United Nations’ most comprehensive report yet on climate change, which in September said the world has already emitted more than half the carbon compatible with the temperature target.

“We call on governments to set a timeline for achieving net-zero emissions before the end of the century,” the 70 companies said in today’s statement. “This needs to be done on a pathway which keeps cumulative emissions below 1 trillion tons of carbon from CO2.”

The companies also urged governments to transform the current energy system and create a plan for what to do with fossil fuels, including examining carbon capture and storage. Electricite de France SA, ING Groep NV and Adidas AG were among other companies to put their names to the statement.

Today’s communique is the seventh by Prince Charles’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, a club of companies brought together by the heir to the British throne and managed by the University of Cambridge. In November 2012, they called for a clear, global carbon price.

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