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90 Firms Responsible for Two-Thirds of Emissions

From Environmental Leader, Published 22 November 2013

Just 90 companies, including ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil and BP, are responsible for causing almost two-thirds of all man-made global emissions during the industrial era, according to research by the Climate Accountability Institute.

These “carbon majors” include 50 investor-owned companies, 31 state-owned companies, and nine government-run industries in the former Soviet Union, China and other countries, according to Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010.

The 10 companies responsible for extracting the most fossil fuels that have been burned over the past 150 years are: ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, BP, GazProm, Shell, National Iranian Oil Company, Pemex, ConocoPhillips and Petroleos de Venezuela.

In many cases, multinational companies have extracted more than most countries, according to the study. Investor-owned entities comprised 315 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent, while government-run industries, contributed 312 gigatons. State-owned companies produced 288 gigatons, the study shows.

The largest investor-owned producers weigh heavily in the analysis. The top 20 produced fuels that comprised 29.5 percent of emissions, while the top 10 account for 15.8 percent. Five “oil majors,” ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips account for a total of 181 gigatons of CO2 over the past 130 years, amounting to 12.5 percent of total carbon emitted to the atmosphere, according to the study.

Most of the top producers primarily extract oil. Coal producers Coal India and Peabody Energy rank 11th and 12th, respectively. The list also includes a handful of cement producers.

According to research released in September 2013 and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, oil and natural gas companies are America’s top investors in zero- and low-greenhouse gas emissions technologies.

The study by T2 and Associates examined investments in greenhouse gas mitigation technologies from 2000 through 2012. During that period, the US oil and natural gas industry directly invested about $81 billion in greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, it says.

Other US industries invested an estimated $91.2 billion, and the federal government invested an estimated $79.7 billion, the study said.