Just 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions over the past three decades, a report has found. And just 25 companies have been the source of more than half of emissions since 1988, according to the new study. The world’s three top greenhouse gas emitters are fossil fuel giants including state-run Saudi Aramco, China’s coal industry and Russia’s Gazprom, the report found.
And the Carbon Majors Report also listed major fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron as some of the world’s biggest emitters.
But China’s coal industry, which is made up a few state-owned or managed companies, has emitted 14.3 per cent of greenhouse gases since 1988, making it the largest overall contributor to global emissions.
In comparison, Saudi Aramco has emitted just 4.5 per cent of greenhouses while Gazprom released just 3.9 per cent.
Greenhouse gases studied by the report included carbon dioxide and methane.
The report, which was commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project, noted that by 1988, companies should have known of the damaging effect of greenhouse gases on the environment.
‘Nonetheless, most companies have expanded extraction activities significantly in the time since, while non-carbon primary energy sources, such as renewables, have seen relatively very little investment,’ the authors behind the report said.
The authors added that if emissions carry on climbing at the same rate as they have done during the last three decades, temperatures will soar by 4°C (39°F).
This is despite repeated warnings from scientists that any temperature increase above 2°C could have catastrophic consequences for wildlife, the food supply and the incidence of extreme weather, the report said.
Experts behind the report have now called for investors in fossil fuel companies to put pressure on these firms to cut their emissions.
‘Our purpose is not to name and shame firms, our purpose is to provide transparency and call attention to the quite extraordinary fact that just 100 companies played a crucial role in the problem,’ said Pedro Faria, technical director of the Carbon Majors Database, which collected the information for the report.
‘It’s obvious they have a share of responsibility in the solution.’