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90 Firms Responsible for Two-Thirds of Emissions

CarbonJust 90 companies, including ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil and BP, are responsible for causing almost two-thirds of all man-made global emissions during the industrial era, according to research by the Climate Accountability Institute.

These “carbon majors” include 50 investor-owned companies, 31 state-owned companies, and nine government-run industries in the former Soviet Union, China and other countries, according to Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010.

The 10 companies responsible for extracting the most fossil fuels that have been burned over the past 150 years are: ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, BP, GazProm, Shell, National Iranian Oil Company, Pemex, ConocoPhillips and Petroleos deVenezuela.

In many cases, multinational companies have extracted more than most countries, according to the study. Investor-owned entities comprised 315 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, while government-run industries, contributed 312 gigatonnes. State-owned companies produced 288 gigatonnes, the study shows.

The largest investor-owned producers weigh heavily in the analysis. The top 20 produced fuels that comprised 29.5 percent of emissions, while the top 10 account for 15.8 percent. Five “oil majors,” ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips account for a total of 181 gigatonnes of CO2 over the past 130 years, amounting to 12.5 percent of total carbon emitted to the atmosphere, according to the study.

Most of the top producers primarily extract oil. Coal producers Coal India and Peabody Energy rank 11th and 12th, respectively. The list also includes a handful of cement producers.

According to research released in September and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, oil and natural gas companies are America’s top investors in zero- and low-greenhouse gas emissions technologies.

The study by T2 and Associates examined investments in greenhouse gas mitigation technologies from 2000 through 2012. During that period, the US oil and natural gas industry directly invested about $81 billion in greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, it says.

Other US industries invested an estimated $91.2 billion, and the federal government invested an estimated $79.7 billion, the study said.

Image Credit: www.carbonvisuals.com

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3 thoughts on “90 Firms Responsible for Two-Thirds of Emissions

  1. Unless these 90 companies also combusted the fuels they extracted and processed, I don’t think it is accurate to write “They are responsible for causing” any emissions. Last time I checked, none of them forced me to drive to work today.

  2. While this article is reasonably balanced, the cited study has it backwards. We consumers are primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and gas companies are respnding to our wants for energy to make our lives more comfortable and productive. They emit relatively little greenhouse gases to produce the products we want.

    I read the other day that the supply chain producing meat emits more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector does as it consumes gasoline, diesel fuel, etc.

    We need to look at ourselves and not the firms that provide us the goods that we demand.

  3. That’s a good point. These firms are both responsible for and enable others to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We are complicit in all these man-made emissions and those firms know that and are mostly comfortable with what they do.

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