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Man-Made Climate Change Mostly Due To Just 90 Companies

Man Made Climate Change Mostly Due To Just 90 Companies Business Insider


Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.

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This is eye opening:

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former Vice President Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climactic Change.

"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

Or all on one gas guzzling airplane!

The jerk store called and these guys are their all time best seller:

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

We're talking just since the 1990s. Sheesh!

Well, and now we're half ways between the 1990s and +2C:

The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its "carbon budget" – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming.

Scary that by 2040 we could hit +2C.

More details about the 90 organizations responsible:

Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.

Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, Russia's Gazprom and Norway's Statoil.

Nine were government run industries, producing mainly coal in countries such as China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of this week's talks.

So this really is a worldwide problem. And these companies show no signs of slowing down.

Yeah, there's no one organization to put pressure on. It's many organizations:

The companies' operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. "These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth," Heede writes in the paper.

The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.

By Heede's calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.

ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.

So even if we could put pressure on the investor-owned companies, it's not enough.

It seems the only solution is to reduce demand dramatically and emphatically.

How can that be done? New cheap energy sources?

Clean, cheap energy sources and a turning away from over-consumption. 

A turning away from over consumption seems next to impossible at this point.

What's the total market cap of these 90 companies?

What's their total annual revenues?

I'm going to assume that when you add them all up we're talking something larger than the annual GDP of most all of the countries in the world.

In essence, these 90 are multi-national states unto themselves and in many ways more difficult to negotiate with than national governments.

Just guessing out loud on this one...

I'm guessing you're right: They're more difficult to negotiate with than governments.

I think 2040 is optimistic. Unless a non-carbon producing cheap source of energy is found carbon emissions are only going to continue to increase dramatically. Sure we can build things like Earthship buildings. The technology is all there for dramatically reducing energy use, but there just aren't the incentives to reduce, especially with the rise of fracking. The response to an increase in frequency of extreme weather events will simply be a move to constructing buildings that can withstand them. Of course before that happens there will have to be a lot of destruction by hurricanes, tornadoes and floods first. There is just too much inertia in the fossil fuel economy. The only thing I can see changing that is a radical change in technology (Mr. Fusion?)... and it has to happen fairly soon. That or a severe worldwide dislocation event. 

Two years later, you're so right. Still massive inertia for fossil fuels.

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