Fossil fuel contribution to the climate crisis

The Guardian today revealed the 20 fossil fuel companies whose exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.

The science community has known of the dangers posed by continuing to burn fossil fuels for over fifty years, as evidenced by a report authored by the Environmental Pollution Panel of the US President’s Science Advisory Committee, which set out the likely impact of continued fossil fuel production on global heating.

We have created a short video to help people understand the scale of this, and an animated chart that shows the history of emissions since 1965.

Cumulative emissions 1965-2017 (MtCO₂e)

New data from Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the USA reveals how state-owned and multinational businesses have continued to expand their fossil fuel extraction operations since 1965 despite being aware of the industry’s devastating impact on the planet.

The analysis shows that the top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO₂e) since 1965.

One of the most important predictions of the [president’s report] 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, president of the American Petroleum Institute, 1965
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.
— Richard Heede, Climate Accountability Institute

High resolution image with Creative Commons license here:

See Guardian article here