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Only 100 Companies Are Responsible For 71 Percent of Global Emissions, Says Study (theguardian.com) 180

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report. The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) "pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions," says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute. The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 -- the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established -- can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988. If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.
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Only 100 Companies Are Responsible For 71 Percent of Global Emissions, Says Study

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    one single apartment in Silicon Valley.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @09:53PM (#54782877)
    The Carbon Majors Database was established in 2013 by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) to show how these emissions are linked to companies, or ‘Carbon Majors’. Now CDP works in collaboration with the CAI to maintain the Database and share its important data and insights with all stakeholders
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @09:53PM (#54782881)
    I think it's more likely that almost everything is owned by 100 companies.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:23PM (#54783031)

      "small set of fossil fuel producers..."

      Yeh, we know, we dig up hydro-carbons and turn it into CO2. How the f*ck does that help to list the oil coal and gas companies?

      If any of them stopped tomorrow, another company would fill the demand, the names would be different but it would make no change.

      The DEMAND for those hydrocarbons is the problem here.

      I just priced solar+storage for my house, why the f*ck am I paying for electricity? I never priced it until I read Slashdot the other day and decided to check the prices and specs for myself. The misleading marketing and political funding these companies do is the problem from these companies, not the hydrocarbons themselves.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Funny that you decided to look at solar after reading Slashdot. I haven't figured out whether the comments on renewable power here are shills or just Slashdot's modern ultraconservative crazy population, but most of the comments tend to be along the lines of "it ain't possible!"

        There was a story today about a report that estimates renewables will be the cheapest form of electricity virtually everywhere by... 2020 was it? It seems we're close to having innovated ourselves out of our mess, hopefully in time

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:33PM (#54783071) Journal
      Depends on how its counted.
      "Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world" (19 October 2011)
      https://www.newscientist.com/a... [newscientist.com]

      ".. revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships"
      "..found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network."

      Domestic brands in shops that show freedom of choice could just be local marketing by a multi national.
    • by piojo ( 995934 )

      I think it's more likely that almost everything is owned by 100 companies.

      Close, but not quite. I think the truth is that these companies produce most of the raw materials we use. Propylene, ethylene, and phenol are fossil fuel products. These are used to make most plastics, and BPA. BPA is used to make polycarbonate and epoxy. Epoxy is used to make carbon fiber and other composites.

      Formaldehyde is used in some industrial wood glues, like those used to create plywood and MDF. Since it's a commodity (and a dangerous one), there are probably very few companies producing formaldehyd

    • Sounds like kind of the same thing, given how practically everything in economy translates to expended energy.
  • Terrible misnomer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Monday July 10, 2017 @09:54PM (#54782887) Homepage Journal

    They use "linked to" in the very broadest sense. There are less than a hundred major fossil fuel producers in the world, so of course it's "linked" to them. It's not like they are burning it though. It's not like we can just change 100 companies and remove more than half the greenhouse emissions. That's like saying because 70% of the world's greenhouse emissions are produced by 20 countries that it means 70% of the world's greenhouse emissions are linked to only 20 people (the current heads of state for those countries).

    • According to this comprehensive chart [wri.org], about 66.5% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy sector (nearly all of it CO2), so yes, it's not unexpected that the major energy companies are the penultimate source of so much.

      While this is an activist report of course, the point it's making is that these companies hold a huge amount of influence over our energy future - if they chose to scale down their investments in carbon-based energy in favour of creating and supplying low- or zero-carbon alternatives

      • You misread that chart. It says that about two thirds of GHG emissions were due to human uses of energy, with "transportation" and "industry" being two of the large chunks. Electricity and heat generation is only 25% of the total.

        • I consider Exxon, BP, Shell, and other fossil fuel producers to be energy companies, so I was including transportation and their other consumer industries as part of the wider energy market, not just electricity and heating. But whatever you prefer, I don't think it changes my point.

          • by Entrope ( 68843 )

            You may not think it changes your point, but that is because your point is pretty vapid. To the extent that it isn't vapid, it is based on incorrect beliefs and faulty premises. Do you blame minimum-wage workers for struggling to break even? By your logic, if they chose to scale down their hours at the minimum wage it would reduce the supply of cheap labor and thereby increase the market-clearing wage.

            • Huh? Sorry, if you're making a point that's related, then I'm not seeing it.

              Obviously all participants in the energy chain bear some responsibility, but it's the primary producers who have the most direct control. Consumers rarely care how their energy is produced, only about cost, and they have little influence over methods or pricing. But if the fossil fuel companies (gradually) phased out e.g. coal production, then the electricity market would be forced to build other types of power plants.

  • wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:08PM (#54782951) Homepage Journal

    This is a bullshit report with bullshit ideas and bullshit conclusion.

    A company that provides you with fuel for your car does not actually produce the emissions, your car produces the emissions, you are the one driving it. You are the one eating the food that is produced due to oil companies supplying energy and chemicals, you are the one living in a building heated and lit by whatever energy source that allows you to survive.


    To say that some companies that allow you to live on this planet by providing you with everything you need to live are producing the waste that is actually the result of you existing and consuming all this stuff is propaganda and nothing more. It is aimed at stealing profits from companies that are actually largely responsible for you being alive in the first place.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "A company that provides you with fuel for your car does not actually produce the emissions, your car produces the emissions, you are the one driving it."
      How to fix that?
      Have an app that connects workers to some self driving pod that then collects random workers on the way to work every day?
      A self driving community van filled with random strangers that finds the best way to each destination on time.
      Suggest all workers get rail or bus transport early each morning?
      Tax all other cars off the road? S
    • Re:wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rhodium_mir ( 2876919 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:57PM (#54783179)

      Likewise, don't blame me when I press statist infants through a fine mesh screen to create a useful industrial slurry--blame my customers.

    • I can't see where the article says that these companies are 'guilty' - it only really says they play a disproportionately large role in the production of CO2, which isn't surprising at all; it is what we would expect. It points out where we can most effectively concentrate our efforts, if we want to curb emissions: cut back on the production and use of fossil fuels. Again this is no surprise at all. Alas, neither is the reaction of people like you, who immediately work themselves into a frenzy instead of th

      • People don't use alternatives because they are inferior in every respect except for emitted pollution. And if people stopped buying the stuff these companies would stop digging it up. Only children really believe in 'guilt'.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:50AM (#54784895) Homepage Journal

      The report is not trying to apportion blame, it's trying to give some advice.

      Investing in these companies is risky, because the world is moving away from emitting large amounts of CO2, with several countries committing to being CO2 neutral in the next few decades. Major consumers of the products they make are moving to other sources of energy, e.g. electric cars.

      It's also a helpful guide to which companies we should focus on bankrupting or forcing to change their ways if we want to avert disastrous climate change. It would be nice if the measures that responsible governments are taking were enough, but unfortunately not. Encouraging BP and Exxon Mobil to invest some more of that profit into cleaner forms of energy is a good thing.

    • A company that provides you with fuel for your car does not actually produce the emissions, your car produces the emissions, you are the one driving it.

      Remember when Chevron bought up the battery technology used in the Honda Insight so that it couldn't be used in any other vehicles? Do people really license environmentally beneficial technology only to suppress it? People do.

      These companies buy legislation to permit them to continue polluting, so they absolutely do share the blame.

    • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

      A company that provides you with fuel for your car does not actually produce the emissions, your car produces the emissions, you are the one driving it.

      Global warming is systemic, that's the point to take away from this article. Your argument is flawed because you can apply it to all players: the consumers are responsible because they keep consuming; the producers are responsible because they keep producing.

      However there is a difference, individual consumers are powerless to make any difference, practical alternatives come from above, the control lies in the hands of the relative few who own the infrastructure and the businesses.

      To see the consumer as the

      • Oil companies produce oil because there's a demand. Shut down some of them and others will make up for the shortage. Remove some of the demand and oil companies produce less.

        Part of the solution is to have individuals doing things that result in less CO2 emission. We're all on the hook. Act wisely.

        • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
          I didn't say shut down oil companies, change them, it's the easiest place to intervene - are governments going to try to control 4 billion people against market forces or 100 companies?
          • What I don't understand is what we're supposed to do with the oil companies. They supply a demand in the market, and the demand won't go away just because we nuke the oil companies.

            • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
              no one is going to nuke the oil companies, they are both necessary and powerful, but they are few and therefor a perfect target, they have the means to change the system and should be target by those that can require them to change (governments, lawmakers etc).
  • These are some of the companies behind 'The Institute of Public Affairs' [wikipedia.org], which backs the Australian liberal party.
  • by Subm ( 79417 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:15PM (#54782977)

    The companies' managers and shareholders are responsible for their behavior, but we, the people who buy their stuff and elect the officials who could legislate some of their behavior, are still responsible for our behavior.

  • Seriously, far too many of these companies have NOT been really vetted for what they really contribute, esp those in China.
    What is needed are satellites to monitor the globe and record CO2 flow IN and OUT of a region. That will actually allow a better check on things.
  • They alone account for 25% of all emissions. Scary.
  • So if we split those 100 companies in half and make 200 companies, will that make the pollution better or worse?
    • Neither, of course. Your point?
      • That the headline is meaningless clickbait. It makes no difference how many companies, yet thats the main focus of the headline and summary. What was your point?
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:25PM (#54783045) Homepage

    Corporate entities counting is disingenuous. Pollution is not just produced, it is the byproduct of some job. Presumably there 100 companies produce over 70% of the work we use. They supply the gas we use to get to work, raise the cattle we eat, or produce our electricity. Who cares how they want to group themselves, that is the realm of accountants and lawyers.

  • That number will be up from 71% to over 80% emitted by the top 100.

    The number of corporate entities doing the emission is irrelevant, the total emission is what matters. So, if you suddenly killed Exxon/Mobil tomorrow, their emissions would just be transferred over to whatever company picks up their business, almost seamlessly.

    What's needed is for the economic framework to reward lower carbon emissions.

  • https://hardware.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org]

    So who cares ? Either you believe the B.S. and the problem is already solved
    or you don't and in that case you never believed there was a problem to begin with.

    Personally if the greens want to declare victory and let the world get on with life absent them, they can have their parade.

  • So long as the rich can buy food thats OK, poor people have nothing to loose anyway, thats why they are poor.
    So long as it is only poor people who become extinct thats OK, again thats ok because who wants to be poor.

    So, no problems, lets drill some more oil
  • ...either the city council are made to look foolish when it's found unconstitutional after many piles of city money are spent fighting in court.

    Or, failing that, the "rich" move like 2 miles thataway into another city.

    And what will the result be?

    Loss of property tax income to the city of Seattle, as fewer high-rollers will want to live there, depressing prices of the highest-value properties.

    I think it would be hilarious if the city had to cut funding for the indigent because of this.

  • So, how much of the CO2 output can be traced to government activity? You think that all those bureaucrats turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater like Jimmy Carter did? Sure they do, in the middle of summer.

    I hear so many suggest that we "just" enact a tax on fossil fuels. Then we "just" have the government subsidize windmills and electric cars. The government does not "just" do anything. The government is built of many people, all with their own intentions. Some of them not so nice.

    We might get o

    • Actually, if we got rid of all bureaucrats and politicians, the resulting decrease in hot air would lower global temperatures by 2 degrees.
  • The same ultra rich employers of lobbyists who would have America believe that climate change is a hoax, coal is cheaper than sunshine and the locals who get poisoned are terrorists.

    Newsflash Murrica... When the rest of the world dissagrees you probably have it wrong.
    • The same ultra rich employers of lobbyists who would have America believe that climate change is a hoax

      Huh? Two of the companies you mentioned have major investments in green energy, one is one of the largest wind producers in the USA, and all three lobbied against trump pulling out of the Paris accords.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @01:49AM (#54783849)

    Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions since 1988,

    If you look at it that way, just 100 companies have then probably been the source of more than 70% of the world's wealth, reduction in hunger, reduction in poverty, etc. It's then because of those 100 companies that you don't freeze, starve, or die of horrible diseases. So, be grateful that those 100 companies exist.

  • Carbon emissions... get back to me when you are interested in real pollution (like China and India are putting out by the metric ton). Anyone who wants to call CO2 emissions a pollutant should be required to try to live without it for a month.

    • Yes, everything is black and white. Beautiful binary logic. There is either CO2 or there is no CO2. Something is either good or it is bad, in any quantity.

      Except water, I don't think I'd like to breathe water. And heat, I don't think I want absolute zero or super heated plasma, I prefer temperatures somewhere in the middle. A temperature that supports fishing and agriculture would be ideal for me.

      • Then you should be pleased to know that you breathe far more water every day than CO2 and we will never approach even 0.5% CO2, and indeed all indications from the raw data are that global CO2 concentration is a myth (as some kind of fixed constant). CO2 concentration is actively consumed by plant life, meaning it peaks where CO2 is produced, and valleys where it is consumed by plants. CO2 is plant food and is limited not by production but by plant life (mostly in the ocean) and will never exceed 0.08% (w

        • When I'm 80 years old, I won't like to breath air that is 100F and 95% humidity. No matter what the CO2 content is. If CO2 and Methane resulted in the air being that hot and my retirement home to be hit by floods 3 out of the 10 years, then that's not ideal for me.

          Absolutely you need quite high concentrations of CO2 to be directly toxic to human being or really to vertebrates in general. If you failed to catch on to my earlier posts, you lack the ability to see nuance in environmental topics or identify sec

    • Anyone who wants to call CO2 emissions a pollutant should be required to try to live without it for a month.

      Anyone who wants to call CO2 emissions not a pollutant should be required to breathe nothing else for five minutes.

      • Because we are soooo close to having that condition at 400PPM... Oh wait, that's complete bullshit (that's .04% since you clearly have no math skills or comprehension of proportion).

        • Because we are soooo close to having that condition at 400PPM... Oh wait, that's complete bullshit (that's .04% since you clearly have no math skills or comprehension of proportion).

          I answered your ridiculous example with a ridiculous example, and now you're sad. Don't be sad.

  • 100 Companies plus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @02:55AM (#54783977) Homepage Journal

    Plus 3-4 billion people. (taking a rough guess as to how many consumers it takes to generate 70% of the world's emissions)

    Point being, the responsibility isn't wholly on corporations. But also on the nations of the world, their governments, and the people of the world.

  • ...brought to you by some climate activist organization. (peeks at TFA) Yep, the "Climate Accountability Institute". Fascinating: they provide no information on their sponsors. They are also not a non-profit, but only a "not for profit", which gives them a lot of leeway, and removes a lot of accountability.

    "...a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers

    Well, duh. If you take the top 100 companies mining/pumping/extracting fossil fuels, and blame them, the surprising thing is that you don't top 90%. Mean

  • Just look at the Top 10:
    1. China (Coal) - 14.3%
    2. Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) - 4.5%
    3. Gazprom OAO (owned by Russia) - 3.9%
    4. National Iranian Oil Co - 2.3%
    5. ExxonMobil Corp - 2.0%
    6. Coal India - 1.9%
    7. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex - owned by Mexico) - 1.9%
    8. Russia (Coal) - 1.9%
    9. Royal Dutch Shell PLC - 1.7%
    10. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) - 1.6%

    For consistency why isn't these countries pursues with same venom and vitriol as Exxon and Shell? Exxon, Shell, and all privately held companies are held to much higher environmental standard then anyone of these state owned companies.

  • Is ExxonMobil itself generating 2% of global emissions, or is it providing the oil that, once burned by the customer, generates 2% of global emissions?

    I'll accept the criticism if it's the former, but not the latter.

  • You'll probably find that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of everything.

  • For once I feel like i'm a super minority on slashdot... who cares if it's a half bakes article, why are you all protecting these companies? You're selectively arguing against the consumer...

    Everyone who is part of the equation is to blame. However the difference between me and one of these companies is that I can't change my mind and "go green" tomorrow, everything I touch is tainted with fossil fuels, there is no choice. The problem is systemic and it is correct to point the finger at the small number of

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Do you have any idea what this 'report' is about? It is not a list of 100 companies that create the most pollution. It is a list of 100 companies that SUPPLY fossil fuels.

      Suppose Exxon-Mobil decided to get out of the oil business tomorrow. That would get them off this list. Yay! Of course some other company would then take that business, so there would be a different name for you to hate. Big deal.

      What, exactly, would you have these companies do that would make the slightest bit of difference?

  • Sorry, you "man made" global warming morons are still trying to get water out of a dry hole. Yeah, 50 years worth of data, "might" show an increase in so called climate change, but, when you look at the history of the world, when man's been around, it's been warmer, and colder. You really want to know what changes the weather patterns & temperature on this planet? Look up in the sky during the day, but DON'T look directly at it...you could damage your eyes. It's called THE SUN.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.