Research Reveals Just 20 Fossil Fuel Companies Are To Blame For One-Third Of All Carbon Emissions

If the people of the world want to know which fossil fuel companies are the most responsible for the carbon emissions causing the climate crisis, a new study has provided a list.

Global temperatures continue to rise and set new records every year and the warming of our planet is devastating ecosystems and threatening the food and water resources that we depend on.

But as people around the world try to pressure governments to take action, what they really should be doing is demanding the dismantling of fossil fuel companies and calling for executives to be put in prison for ignoring an outcome they were warned about as far back as the 1950s.

The fossil fuel industry has known for decades that their business is the primary cause of uncontrolled climate change.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson released a report warning about the impact of fossil fuel production.

The report was so horrifying that even the president of the American Petroleum Institute relayed the warning to companies that same year.

“One of the most important predictions…is that carbon dioxide is being added to the Earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas at such a rate by the year 2000 the heat balance will be so modified as possibly to cause marked changes in climate beyond local or even national efforts,” Frank Ikard said. “Leading companies and industry associations were aware of, or willfully ignored, the threat of climate change from continued use of their products since the late 1950s. The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.”

Indeed, we had decades to fix this problem but fossil fuel companies chose to ignore it in the name of profit instead. And now we only have a few years to take significant meaningful action if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Not only did fossil fuel companies ignore the problem, they sought to buy lawmakers to prevent action from being taken by governments. Even the American Petroleum Institute will not acknowledge climate change today and makes a concerted effort to eliminate any government regulations that exist to restrain the industry.

Now we have a new report from the Climate Accountability Institute, that names the 20 fossil fuel companies that have produced approximately 35 percent of the carbon emissions in our atmosphere, around 480 billion tons of it, including public companies such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell and state-owned companies like Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia and Gazprom in Russia.

“These companies and their products are substantially responsible for the climate emergency, have collectively delayed national and global action for decades, and can no longer hide behind the smokescreen that consumers are the responsible parties,” lead researcher Richard Heede told The Guardian. “Oil, gas, and coal executives derail progress and offer platitudes when their vast capital, technical expertise, and moral obligation should enable rather than thwart the shift to a low-carbon future.”

These companies make billions of dollars every year poisoning the Earth and they have amassed so much power that they can literally buy governments so they can continue doing so without consequence. It’s time for that to change.

“The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price – in the form of a degraded planet – so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits,” climate scientist Michael Mann said. “It is a great moral failing of our political system that we have allowed this to happen.”

In short, protesting the government is not enough. We need to take aim at the fossil fuel companies who knew about climate change all the way back in the 1950s and refused to do anything about it.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.
 

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