Climate Change Caused by 90 Companies Since Industrial Revolution

climate change factory

Land of beauty, prosperity, and climate change… vimeo.com

A recent analysis on climate change has revealed that just 90 companies are responsible for 63% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1854, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The companies range from private corporations such as BP and Exxon to government-run companies. 83 of the 90 companies are oil, gas, and coal based energy companies, with the remaining 7 companies being cement manufacturers. Information from the climate change analysis comes from public records and data from the US Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center.

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The author of the analysis, Richard Heede, from the Climate Accountability Institute of Colorado concluded in the study that

There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world, but the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.

Heede exhibited concern over the fact that many of the companies, besides being the presiding polluters of history, are also sitting on huge reserves of fossil fuel which represent a potential for an even more daunting future afflicted by climate change.

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Former US President Al Gore was very excited about the study as it is one of the most major efforts to hold individual carbon producers accountable for climate change rather than governmental policy. Gore stated that:

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. Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution.

The actual solution itself is tough to set in stone. Global industrial emissions since 1751 stand at 1,450 gigatonnes. If we are to slow down and eventually halt extreme climate change, a necessary step is to understand who is producing greenhouse gases and who should be held ultimately responsible.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to decide who we should be pointing the finger at regarding climate change. According to 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.

Another aspect of the issue that clouds facts is the climate denial movement.  Oreskes has already shown in the past that several of the top companies from the study are some of the major sources of funds used in the global campaign of climate denial. Despite evolution not being able to keep up with climate change, marine life being destroyed, and weather becoming increasingly more extreme across the planet, companies and governments around the world maintain a stance of cold apathy to the problem or at worse vehement denial.

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How about some highlights from Heede’s study? Sure thing:

  • Government run companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gases than anyone else at approximately 8.8% of the total.
  • Chinese run companies came in a close second at 8.6% of total emissions.
  • ChevronTexaco was the leading emission producer among private companies at 3.5% total emissions, followed by Exxon, and BP.

Operations of the companies currently span the globe, which is very disconcerting for those of us concerned about climate change because

These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth.

climate change action

There is hope after all! http://www.myseek.org/

This is where Heede hits upon the most important point in the study: consumers. Despite the profundity of this study, why point fingers at the producers when we are just as much, if not more at fault for climate change as consumers. Although there are countries like Germany paving the way for a green world, most countries aren’t, and we are still enjoying the life that greenhouse emissions have provided.  Our daily purchases are the reason these companies exist, and the reason they continue to influence climate change.  Despite income inequality, we are all living like kings and queens relative to our ancestors, due in major part to harmful greenhouse emissions.

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If we are to live in harmony with the environment, we must also live in harmony with ourselves and make decisions that reflect our true values.  Don’t waste your money, but instead use your buying power as a consumer to influence the world in a more positive way. If we don’t start making dramatic changes soon (some climate change scientists have already said it is far too late), the future may not be as grand as we all hope for.

 

Sources:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-013-0986-y

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-actual-probability-of-earth-going-to-hell-in-the-ne-1467435315/@kcampbelldollaghan

 

https://wondergressive.com/news/income-inequality-in-america-whats-the-big-deal/

https://wondergressive.com/news/20-biggest-wastes-money/

https://wondergressive.com/news/the-ugly-face-of-overpopulation/

https://wondergressive.com/news/germany-sets-example-for-global-climate-battle/

https://wondergressive.com/news/cheaper-alternative-pollution/

https://wondergressive.com/news/solution-smog-vacuum/

https://wondergressive.com/news/warning-weather-hazards-ahead/

https://wondergressive.com/news/climate-change-too-fast-for-evolution/

https://wondergressive.com/news/costly-climate-changes/

https://wondergressive.com/news/ask-an-astrobiologist-global-warming-and-what-to-expect/

https://wondergressive.com/news/indiana-blue-laws-exemplify-crony-capitalism-time-to-punish-politicians/

https://wondergressive.com/news/refuse-reduce-reuse-recycle-rot/

https://wondergressive.com/news/fresh-air-turned-into-gasoline/

https://wondergressive.com/news/unprecedented-changes-and-extinctions-occurring-in-marine-life/

A Cheaper Alternative To Pollution

The world is getting crowded, or so we think, and with it there is the looming threat of traffic, angry people, excessive food waste, and of course pollution.

Pollution is very unhealthy, unpleasant, and unprofitable. The pollution we are causing from our transportation and daily lifestyles is in essence costing us a pretty penny. In the midst of all the spending on pollution, we have critics that argue for a new, pollution-less world. But wouldn’t that just be a costly upgrade and exuberant amount of money spent on something that will likely cost exorbitant amounts to maintain? According to a new study, not really. In fact, the constant use of coal as a power source yields a great deal of carbon based pollution, which turns out to be costly in itself.

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Many would argue that with the cheap labor costs and manufacturing costs that accompany it, there really isn’t a cheaper alternative to “coal power.” However, based on this study, coal power is in fact not only an outdated method, but it is at least more costly than onshore wind power and the use of new natural gases. Laurie Johnson, an avid advocate and proprietor of the study, gets to the nitty-gritty point:

The study results show that our electricity system, which generates fully 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, is costly. Transitioning to cleaner energy won’t just help protect us and our children and grandchildren from climate change, it’s also good economics

More importantly she discusses not only the cost of production, but also the cost of damage caused by the pollution. It is no secret that global warming is causing more severe storms and climate changes, and it is also no secret that we pay a pretty penny for the destruction of our tyrant mother nature.

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The study estimates that by 2018, coal will be so costly that it will cost at least .5 cents per kWh more than renewable clean energy. Although that sounds like a very little number, take into consideration that the average American uses over 11,000 kWh per year. Now multiply that by the roughly 300 million Americans in the USA and again multiply it by the .5 cents that coal costs to operate/clean/maintain. That’s-a-big a-pizza pie! The study itself concludes that:

Our estimates have important policy implications. For new electricity generation, they justify a much stronger standard than proposed last year by the Environmental Protection Agency, which was based upon natural gas emission rates. For existing source standards, which the EPA is also required to issue, they justify replacing a significant portion of the current coal fleet with new cleaner generation.

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Maybe it is time to give up the farce of maintaining fossil power plants and time to step up into a world of clean and renewable sources of energy. We continually progress to higher gas mileages and less pollution based cars, so why not apply this idea of clean usable energy more as a solution to our constant need for energy?

Cheers to clean energy!

 

 

Research:

Social Cost of Carbon

Laurie Johnson

 EIA.Gov American Electricity

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle