More than 70 per cent of the FTSE 500 companies have agreed to help investors assess the impact they make on global climate change, by disclosing the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.

The Carbon Disclosure Project wrote to every company in the index, asking them to provide information on their output of greenhouse gases. The companies were also asked whether they considered climate change a commercial risk or opportunity.

James Cameron, chairman of the project, said the number of companies responding to the letter showed how the issue was rising higher on the corporate agenda.

Last year, 59 per cent of FTSE 500 responded, up from 47 per cent in the previous survey.

Countries that ratified the United Nations-brokered Kyoto protocol, which went into effect earlier this year, must reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

In the US, which rejected the Kyoto treaty, some states are planning to ask companies to reduce their greenhouse gas output on a voluntary basis.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, funded by a variety of charities, represents a coalition of institutional investors with more than $21 trillion in assets.

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