Headlines: 90 Companies Responsible for Most of Our Global Warming

December 6, 2013 – An article in The Guardian a couple of weeks ago caught my eye. Written by Suzanne Goldenberg it described research published in the journal Climatic Change that reported 90 companies (see chart below) on this planet contribute to 63% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


90 companies responsible for global warming


The list reads like a who’s who of corporatism on the planet including all the major fossil fuel companies. Of the 90 on the list only 7 are not energy companies in the business of producing oil, gas or coal. Those 7 are cement manufacturers.

You’ll recognize the names of the top 10. Here they are along with their percentage contribution to total GHG emissions.


  1. Chevron – 3.52%.
  2. ExxonMobil – 3.22%.
  3. Saudi Armaco – 3.17%.
  4. BP – 2.47%.
  5. Gazprom – 2.22%.
  6. Royal Dutch Shell – 2.12%.
  7. National Iranian Oil Company – 2.01%.
  8. Pemex (Mexico) – 1.38%.
  9. ConocoPhillips – 1.16%.
  10. Petroleos de Venezuela – 1.11%.




The research compiled GHG emissions from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (circa 1750) to 2010. But one statistic really stands out – 50% of the total emissions have been produced from 1985 to 2010. This rise in GHG corresponds with growing demand for energy in the Developing World as well as the Developed World’s buying binge focused on bigger houses, consumer electronics and automobiles.

GHG emission totals from these companies has amounted to 914 gigatons of CO2. Total GHG emissions from all industrial sources over the same period equals 1,450 gigatons.

What is also interesting is how many of these companies are behind the funding to climate change denier groups like The Heartland Institute and other so-called think tanks. It would appear, therefore, that the Chevrons and ExxonMobils of the world see their self-interest in polluting as more important than reducing the amount of GHG emissions they produce. They along with others contributed $118 million in 2010 to organizations to refute claims of anthropogenic climate change.

In another article that appeared this week 29 large companies incorporated plans for carbon taxes in their long-term financial forecasts. Interestingly the list includes:


  1. Chevron
  2. ExxonMobil
  3. BP
  4. Royal Dutch Shell
  5. ConocoPhillips


These big 5 energy producers are all major contributors to the think tanks, political parties and action groups who deny that we humans are the major contributors to climate change. It appears they are hedging their bets.


Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...