By Peter Frumhoff, director of science & policy
21 November 2013
(UCS) – Today’s publication in the journal Climatic Change by Richard Heede on Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010 provides a robust scientific basis for motivating fresh thinking and dialogue about responsibility for taking action to address climate change.
The responsibilities for climate change fall on many shoulders, of course — from individuals through the daily choices we make, to emitting industries, to nations. But some are more responsible than others. Drawing upon several years of painstaking research, Heede shows that nearly two-thirds, 63 percent, of all industrial carbon dioxide and methane released to the atmosphere can be traced to fossil fuel and cement production by just 90 entities — investor-owned companies, such as Chevron and Exxon-Mobil; primarily state-run companies, such as Gazprom and Saudi Aramco; and solely government-run industries, such as in the former Soviet Union and China (for its coal production).
The top 20 entities, shown here, produced 48 percent of all industrial carbon pollution, with 15 percent produced by another 70 entities. Look to the paper and to Heede’s website CarbonMajors.org for more detailed figures, methods, and the underlying data. [more]