A new report on the biggest contribution of greenhouse gases (GHG) has been released and it shows that 100 fossil fuel producers are responsible for releasing 71 percent of all global emissions.
The study was conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project in partnership with the Climate Accountability Institute and used the Carbon Majors Database. The goal of the report is to look at the role of corporations in climate change, as often the emissions are broken down by country and that doesn’t provide the biggest picture.
“In 1988, human-induced climate change was officially recognized through the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” the report states.
“Since this time, the fossil fuel industry has doubled its contribution to global warming by emitting as much greenhouse gas in 28 years as in the 237 years between 1988 and the birth of the industrial revolution. Since 1988, more than half of global industrial GHGs can be traced to just 25 corporate and state producers.”
The biggest emitters are state owned, like Chinese coal mining and the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, which are responsible for 14.3 and 4.5 percent of the global emissions since 1988. There is some movement towards divesting from coal in China and investing in renewable but it’s still early days.
Among the highest emitting investor-owned companies, it's no surprise ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron were on the list. The fact that they are investor-owned could be very important in the fight against climate change. The report suggests that “investors in fossil fuel companies carry influence over one-fifth of industrial greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.” So they could help shape the energy debate worldwide.
And you don’t need to convince the investors about how devastating global warming is going to be. There’s enough evidence showing how they will simply end up losing a lot of money. If fossil fuel companies don’t start help fight climate change and diversify, they won’t survive for long.
A research paper from 2016 on the future international oil companies shows that if they continue to go forward pretending that nothing has changed (their current strategy) they will experience a rapid collapse over the next 10 years.
Many companies, like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. are completely divesting from fossil fuels and going completely renewable. And countries also are taking radical measures to tackle emission. France, for example, will ban new petrol cars from 2040.
Climate change is a real and present danger to humanity and we still have time to mitigate its risks. We just need to want to do it.