Recent studies find that CO2 emissions from 2016 to 2022 can be traced back to just 57 producers, highlighting a concentrated source of pollution amidst growing concerns over climate change.

The report, released by the non-profit think tank InfluenceMap on Thursday, points to a narrow base of industrial giants. It shows fossil fuel and cement producers as the key contributors to the carbon footprint during this period.

The Leading Contributors

Among the primary contributors are Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, and Coal India—state-owned giants within their nations. To date, Saudi Aramco has remained silent on the findings. Coal India and Gazprom have not issued responses as well.

Despite the global agreement at the 2015 U.N. Paris Agreement to combat climate change, the report documents an increase in fossil fuel production by these corporations. This acceleration defies the global push towards renewable energy and has escalated to record-high energy-related CO2 emissions, as reported by the International Energy Agency.

Transparency and Accountability

The significance of the Carbon Majors report lies in its ability to shed light on those chiefly responsible for climate change, providing data that can support legal actions, academic research, and campaigns, besides guiding investment decisions.

One significant event was when a Belgian farmer utilized the Carbon Majors database in a lawsuit against TotalEnergies, linking the company’s emissions to harmful weather conditions that impacted his farm. The farmer said that among the leading CO2-emitting companies, TotalEnergies should be responsible for damage to his regular operations because of harsh weather conditions.

The Role of the Carbon Majors Database

Created in 2013 by the Climate Accountability Institute, the Carbon Majors database compiles company-reported data on fossil fuel outputs with information from various industry sources, including the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This database serves as a vital tool for investors, legal experts, and environmentalists to track and scrutinize the contribution of these companies to climate change over time.

Carroll Muffett, CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law, praises the utility of the database in enabling a comprehensive understanding of these companies’ environmental impact.

Facing the Climate Challenge

This report draws attention to a pressing issue in the fight against climate change: a small group of producers, specifically CO2 emissions from 57 producers, is behind a disproportionately large portion of global emissions. It shows the urgency of devising targeted strategies to curb the environmental impact of these major polluters, highlighting the collective challenge of fostering a sustainable future.

Image Source: NOAA