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European companies ahead of US on carbon disclosure

European companies outnumbered North American companies on a list of how well global corporations were disclosing their emissions of greenhouse gasses and plans to guard themselves against financial risks associated with climate change, a survey showed on Monday.

European companies had seven companies in the Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) list of top 12 global climate performers. Oil company Royal Dutch Shell, the reinsurer group Swiss Re, and phone maker Nokia Group were some of the seven on the list.

North American companies had five on the list, including jet maker Boeing Co, power utility Consolidated Edison, and top US network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc.

“European countries do score highly. Of course, they are subject to a lot more regulation on greenhouse gases so they are more advanced than other places in terms of being able to report complete data,” Zoe Riddell, who produces the annual CDP report, said ahead of its release.

The European Union has had mandatory greenhouse emissions caps since 2005, while the United States, the world's second biggest greenhouse gas polluter after China, has no federal limits on the gases blamed for warming the planet.

The CDP asks 500 global companies on behalf of institutional investors to measure and report their emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet. It also asks them to assess how climate change would affect their future financial health.

The global response rose this year to 82% up from 77% last year. The CDP also surveys 500 of the top companies traded in the United States. Of those, 66% responded to the 2009 survey, a gain of 2 percentage points from last year.

The US House passed a climate bill in June and Democratic leaders in the Senate hope to pass their version of the legislation later this year. The future of that bill is uncertain. (Reuters)