Key Contributors to Global CO2 Emissions Identified in Influential Report

by | Apr 11, 2024

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In a recent enlightening analysis, the Carbon Majors database, managed by InfluenceMap, has been utilized to quantify the enormous impact of the world’s leading oil, gas, coal, and cement producers on global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This report unveils a troubling reality: a significant portion of global CO2 emissions since adopting the Paris Agreement can be attributed to a relatively small cohort of high-emission entities. Specifically, 57 corporate and state entities are responsible for 80% of fossil fuel and cement CO2 emissions from 2016 through 2022, revealing a concerning trend in global production practices and their implications for climate change.

Paris Agreement’s Aftermath Not as Expected

Despite the global consensus on reducing carbon emissions to mitigate climate change, the report indicates a counterproductive trend among the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. It shows that the majority have ramped up production in the seven years following the Paris Agreement, as opposed to the seven years preceding it. This increase in fossil fuel production is particularly marked among state-owned companies and investor-owned entities, highlighting a critical area for policy intervention and sustainability practices.

The Carbon Majors database, encompassing data from 1854 to 2022, provides a comprehensive overview of CO2 emissions since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The findings are stark: over 70% of global fossil fuel and cement CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution are traceable to 78 corporate and state-producing entities, with just 19 contributing to half of these emissions. This long-term perspective is indicative of the concentrated nature of emissions sources and the crucial role these entities play in the global climate crisis.

The Role of Investor-Owned and State-Owned Companies

The report further segments the contributors to historical CO2 emissions, highlighting the significant roles of both investor-owned and state-owned companies. Notably, the top five investor-owned companies – Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips – are accountable for 11.1% of historical fossil fuels and cement emissions. Similarly, the top five state-owned entities, including Saudi Aramco and Gazprom, contribute a comparable 10.9%. These figures point to the substantial impact of corporate and state activities on global emission levels.

The methodology underlying the Carbon Majors database involves meticulously selecting the largest fossil fuel and cement-producing entities based on a specific emissions threshold. This selection is further categorized by entity type, encompassing investor-owned companies, state-owned companies, and nation-state producers, to provide a nuanced understanding of the sources of CO2 emissions. The database employs standardized emissions factors and accounts for direct and indirect emissions to assess each entity’s contribution to global CO2 levels comprehensively.

Implications for Corporate Accountability and Climate Policy

The insights provided by the Carbon Majors database have profound implications for holding fossil fuel producers accountable for their climate impacts. Beyond academic and regulatory contexts, this data serves as a basis for legal and human rights inquiries into corporate accountability for climate-related impacts. The ongoing shift in coal supply dynamics, the increase in production post-Paris Agreement, and the concentrated source of emissions underscore the urgent need for transformative policies and practices to address the climate crisis effectively.

Stay connected with us for an uplifting update: On Earth Day, April 22, 2024, we will proudly reveal the winners of the Environment+Energy Leader Awards. Join us as we spotlight the trailblazers of this year who are making a positive impact in our world.

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