According to a new report by the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado, just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions.
To be published in the journal Climatic Change, the report says the vast majority of the emitting firms were in the energy business, including Chevron, Exxon, BP, and state-owned and government-run firms.
According to the research, 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63 percent of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatons of CO2 emissions. Aside from seven cement manufacturers, the rest of the emitters were energy companies producing oil, gas, and coal.
“There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute told the Guardian. “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.”
Michael Mann, a well known climate scientist, told the Guardian that this information could help bring enhanced attention to fossil fuel companies’ future activities. “What I think could be a game changer here is the potential for clearly fingerprinting the sources of those future emissions,” he said. “It increases the accountability for fossil fuel burning. You can’t burn fossil fuels without the rest of the world knowing about it.”