According to a new report, Global 500 Greenhouse Gas Report: The Fossil Fuel Energy Sector, 31% of the world’s annual GHG emissions can be attributed to the operations and use of the products of 32 companies, ranked in the report. It is important to note that the calculations include emissions from “scope 3 use of product”, which accounts for the high percentage, and which leads the authors to state: “It is these companies’ value chains, and their customers in particular (which includes all fossil fuel users), which bear a burden of leadership and environmental stewardship, and it is the purpose of this report to bring transparency to the role of this sector to help us all manage our collective GHG footprint.”   Of the named companies, Gazprom was the single biggest emitter, producing 1.26 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2013, (roughly equivalent to Japan’s annual emissions). Coal India was 2nd by far, producing 820 million tonnes. The next biggest emitters, in rank order: Glencore, Petrochina, Rosneft, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.

90 Companies Account for Two-Thirds of Global Emissions: a New Look at who is Responsible

A widely-cited article in the November issue of Climatic Change analyzed the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the largest investor-owned and state-owned companies, rather than the usual metric of national emissions.  The results show that nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from 1854 to 2010 can be attributed to 90 companies, with almost 30% of emissions produced by the top 20 companies .  Among state-owned companies,  Russian enterprises produced 8.9% of the total emissions, with China accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions. Among investor-owned companies, ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter, causing 3.5% of global emissions, with Exxon causing 3.2% and BP causing 2.5%. The data in the article was constructed using public records and data for the period 1854 to 2010, from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre. Author Richard Heede states, “the present analysis…invites consideration of the suggestion that some degree of responsibility for both cause and remedy for climate change rests with those entities that have extracted, refined, and marketed the preponderance of the historic carbon fuels.” Read “Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010”  in Climatic Change (November 2013) at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-013-0986-y

James Hansen Challenges the 2 Degrees Target

A new paper by James Hansen and Jeffrey Sachs was published in the Open Access journal PLOS One, arguing that a global warming target of 2 degrees Celsius is not acceptable and will lead to disastrous consequences. According to a summary at The Climate Desk, Hansen has said that the paper is intended as “a tool for the courthouse, rather than the scientific debate hall”…”We started this paper to provide a basis for legal actions against governments in not doing their jobs in protecting the rights of young people and future generations.” See: http://climatedesk.org/2013/12/scientists-current-international-warming-target-is-disastrous/.  The full article, “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations, and Nature” is at PlosOne at:https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/876989-hansen-plos-one.html.