Consumers Responsible for 100% of Global Emissions

business_ethics_highlights_2The story below is about the relatively small handful of corporate entities that are directly responsible for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. But notice a word that is missing entirely from this story: the word “consumer.” Consumers, after all, are responsible for 100% of all emissions—because, after all, companies only emit carbon (and other pollutants) because we want the products they produce. (OK, a quibble: companies still get to make choices about the methods of production, but competitive forces sometimes limit their leeway. That’s not necessarily an excuse, but it’s often an explanation.)

Note also the glass-is-half-empty aspect of this story: the focus is on how bad these companies are. But the upside: there are just 100 companies that you really need to influence in order to have a big impact on this problem. We would be much, much more worried if it were 1,000 companies, or 10,000.

(Note: The story is from 2017, but it is still very relevant.)


LINK: Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says (by Tess Riley for The Guardian)

Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.

The Carbon Majors Report… “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.

Traditionally, large scale greenhouse gas emissions data is collected at a national level but this report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it is intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change.

The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 – the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established – can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities….

What do you think?

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