100 dirtiest responsible for more than 70% of emissions

100 of the most active fossil fuel producers are linked to 71 per cent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. These include ExxonMobil, Shell and Gazprom.

The figures couldn’t be more damning: 71 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 100 fossil fuel producers. 1988 is the year in which human-induced climate change was officially recognised through the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Almost one third of these historic emissions (32 per cent) come from publicly listed, investor-owned companies, according to the new report Carbon Majors, which was produced by CDP and the Climate Accountability Institute.

What’s more, these global-scale emissions are concentrated over a small number of producers. From 1988 to 2015, just 25 fossil fuel producers are linked to 51 per cent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

The highest emitting companies include public investor owned companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Peabody, Total and BHP Billiton, thus highlighting the power investors and shareholders have in the transition to a sustainable economy. High emitters also include state-owned entities such as Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, Coal India and CNPC.

Fossil fuel companies and their products have released more emissions in the last 28 years than in the 237 years prior to 1988, and just over half of all global industrial greenhouse gas emissions released since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1751, have been traced to these 100 fossil fuel producers.

“This ground-breaking report pinpoints how a relatively small set of just 100 fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” said Pedro Faria, Technical Director at CDP. “We are seeing critical shifts in policy, innovation and financial capital that put the tipping point for a low carbon transition in reach, and this historic data shows how important the role of the carbon majors, and the investors who own them, will be.”


Image credit: Rich, flickr/Creative Commons

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