Who Are The Companies Responsible For Most Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

A study published back in 2017 is one of the most up-to-date reports on all companies around the world and their carbon footprint. It reveals that just 100 of all companies have been responsible for 71% of the global greenhouse gas emissions since 1998.

The study is called the Carbon Majors Database and was published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – an international non-profit organization that helps companies and cities disclose their environmental impact.

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The report is shedding some light on the role organizations and investors play in tackling climate change. It claims that since 1988, the year in which the IPCC was formed, over half of the world’s industrial emissions can be traced back to just 25 state and private companies and entities.

According to the results, between 1988 and 2015, 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global emissions and the following 10 companies are the ones that have emitted the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere:

  • China Coal 14.3 %
  • Saudi Aramco 4.5 %
  • Gazprom OAO 3.9 %
  • National Iranian Oil Co 2.3 %
  • ExxonMobil Corp 2.0 %
  • Coal India 1.9 %
  • Petróleos Mexicanos 1.9 %
  • Russia Coal 1.9 %
  • Royal Dutch Shell PLC 1.7 %
  • China National Petroleum Corp 1.6 %

Additionally, if companies continue to extract fossil fuels at the rate they have been doing over the past 28 years, it is estimated that the global average temperature will rise by up to 4°C. 

That will result in by far the largest crisis of the human population and the extinction of a multitude of species. Lost lives and damages to the economy and the environment are also hard to be measured precisely. Scientists still have difficulties projecting how the planet would react to the abnormal amount of greenhouse gasses humanity emits into the atmosphere.

On the investment side, CDP claims that the energy sector is changing fast and the transition could leave those who continue to invest in fossil fuels stranded and also responsible for the medium and long-term consequences of the climate change crisis.

Another research called the 2017 Climate Change study by Brenda Ekwurzel of the Climate & Energy Program concludes that just 90 companies around the world have been responsible for nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1880 to 2010.

The oil major ExxonMobil, for example, is the fifth-leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world from 1880 to 2010. Exxon plans to raise its yearly carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 17% by 2025.

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That comes in stark contrast to announcements of investments in decarbonization and publications of efforts to reduce its emissions. In contrast, companies like BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have announced plans to reach net-zero emissions.

The latest data on the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters shows a handful of corporations can have the biggest impact on climate change mitigation efforts if they decide to urgently address the problem. Gradual phasing out of their fossil fuel capacity to be replaced with renewable energies and available net zero technologies is considered by experts the most viable way of transitioning.

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