You might have heard that climate change is going to eventually – like, not that far into the future – destroy the earth and everything and everyone we hold dear. Or something like that, anyway.
Many people and governments and companies around the world are doing their best to mitigate some of the effects their lives and business dealings have on the planet, so that hopefully we can have a future that doesn’t include a complete apocalypse and the extinction of human beings.
These 20 companies, though, appear to not give a rat’s a** how much they harm future generations, as long as they’re still making the big bucks.
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According to the Climate Accountability Institute, a handful of oil, gas, and coal companies are responsible for 480 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and energy-related methane pumped into Earth’s atmosphere since 1965 – that’s 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions since then.
The report also states that half of all greenhouse gas emissions in recorded history have been released into the atmosphere since 1990, with 1.35 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide (or equivalent GHGs) emitted since 1965.
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The CAI had this to say about their findings in a recent press release:
“Although global consumers from individuals to corporations are the ultimate emitters of carbon dioxide, we focus on the fossil fuel companies that, in our view, have produced and marketed the carbon fuels to billions of consumers with the knowledge that their use as intended will worsen the climate crisis.”
Here’s a list, from worst to…less worse.
20. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia) — 4.38 percent
19. Chevron (USA) — 3.2 percent
18. Gazprom (Russia) — 3.19 percent
17. ExxonMobile (USA) — 3.09 percent
16. National Iranian Oil Co. (Iran) — 2.63 percent
15. BP (UK) — 2.51 percent
14. Royal Dutch Shell (The Netherlands) — 2.36 percent
13. Coal India (India) — 1.71 percent
12. Pemex (Mexico) — 1.67 percent
11. Petroleos de Venezuela (Venezuela) — 1.16 percent
10. PetroChina/China Natl Petroleum (China) — 1.15 percent
9. Peabody Energy (USA) — 1.14 percent
8. ConocoPhillips (USA) — 1.12 percent
7. Abu Dhabi (UAE) — 1.01 percent
6. Kuwait Petroleum Corp (Kuwait) — 1 percent
5. Iraq National Oil Co. (Iraq) — 0.93 percent
4. Total SA (France) — 0.91 percent
3. Sonatrach (Algeria) — 0.91 percent
2. BHP Billiton (Australia) — 0.72 percent
1. Petrobras (Brazil) — 0.64 percent
If we hope to achieve the goals set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2017, all of these companies would have to recognize their current levels as a “peak” and immediately begin to taper them. The report says that these fossil fuel giants, and others like them, have “a significant moral, financial, and legal responsibility to help curtail and compensate for the runaway effects of climate change.”
It’s time for people to stop plowing ahead like horses plodding a field with blinders on, eyes on nothing but the row of money to be reaped ahead. If the world wants to survive long enough to leave something other than smoking ashes for our kids, the time is nigh to stop, look around, and start to take several million steps back.