Friday, November 22, 2013

Chevron, Exxon and BP are first from 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms — mainly oil companies with widely recognized names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell, and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy, and BHP Billiton.
Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters
John Ashton :
“The challenge we face is to move in the space of not much more than a generation from a carbon-intensive energy system to a carbon-neutral energy system. If we don’t do that, we stand no chance of keeping climate change within the 2 degrees C threshold,”
“By highlighting the way in which a relatively small number of large companies are at the heart of the current carbon-intensive growth model, this report highlights that fundamental challenge.”
“For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action,”
ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2 percent. In third place, BP caused 2.5 percent of global emissions to date.
The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its "carbon budget" – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming. The former US vice-president and environmental champion, Al Gore, said the new carbon accounting could re-set the debate about allocating blame for the climate crisis.
"This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming," Gore told the Guardian. "Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution."
Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, Russia's Gazprom and Norway's Statoil.
Nine were government run industries, producing mainly coal in countries such as China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of this week's talks.
"It seemed like maybe this could break the logjam," said Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard. "There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it's not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor."
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