Posted by: r.m. | November 21, 2013

90 companies (and their gov’ts)- pushing the world towards a 5 degree C trajectory!

So, there is this polluter-pays principle.

And, now we clearly now who the ‘polluter’ is with regards to climate change.

According to a new study – published today in The Guardian –Just 90 companies [with headquarters in 43 countries] caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age.

“There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. “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.

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

See the interactive chart here:

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.36.17 AM

So: The ones that have pushing this world – our Earth – further and further into a trajectory of a 5 degree C rise in temperature –  are so few as to fit on one or two buses, and none of them can claim ignorance (although “several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement”)!

And, yes, I wrote: a 5 degree rise in temperature.

According to a report published two days ago:

Global CO2 emissions are projected to rise 2.1 percent higher than 2012, the previous record high, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Global Carbon ProjectThis increase is slightly less than the 2000-2013 average of 3.1 percent, said lead author Corinne Le Quéré of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK.

These hard numbers demonstrate that the U.N. climate talks have failed to curb the growth in emissions. And there is little optimism that the latest talks known as COP19 here in Warsaw will change the situation even with the arrival of high-level ministers Wednesday.

Global emissions continue to be within the highest scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is a five-degree C trajectory. It’s absolutely tragic for humanity to be on this pathway,” Le Quéré said.

Remember the documentary – An Inconvenient Truth? Well, the danger that Al Gore discussed in his award-winning documentary were about a 2 degree C rise in temperature.  Not a 5 degree C rise.

We need to also remember that these 90 companies are represented by governments (many of whom claim to be leaders of democracies). And it is these governments who are also deciding who will live and who will die.

Yesterday, the executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, gave a moving address  to her fellow climate change delegates at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland. “Every time we attend this conference, I’m beginning to feel that we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die,” Sering says.

But other governments are not meekly standing by.

As reported by Democracy Now “A group of 133 developing nations have walked out of a key part of the climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, amidst a conflict over how countries who have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases should be held financially responsible for some of the damage caused by extreme weather in nations with low carbon emissions. The United States, Australia, Canada and other industrialized countries are pushing for the issue — known as loss and damage — to be put off until after the 2015 climate talks in Paris.

Venezuela is part of this group, as is China and India.

“When you see developed countries being so bold to tell you that they are not even considering reducing their emissions, that they are not even considering paying for the costs that those inactions have on the life of others, that is really rude and hard to handle it politically,” says Claudia Salerno, the lead climate negotiator for Venezuela, which is a member of the G77+China group that walked out. “We are heading to a point in which countries are not ready to take responsibility for their acts, and in this case, even more pathetic, they are not wanting to be.”

And these governments are doing more than simply refusing to be held financial accountable.

Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change

Fortunately: Salerno explains one way how these governments are responding: “So, Venezuela next year will host the first formal social consultation of every single social movement involved in the climate change agenda, with three preparation processes in advance of that pre-COP. And then, for the first time, instead of having ministers listening to each other’s the same statements and stubbornness, we are going to have ministers listen to their people about what is the kind of ambition and the kind of agreement the world wants to have—but the world’s side, not the governmental approach.”

The struggle continues…

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Responses

  1. BIOL207
    In my point of view, we are on the brink of humanity, and our world leaders are sitting in broadrooms commissionning studies on solar power, recycling and hybrid automobiles? How is it possible that highly educationed men of science don’t see that the solutions they are providing are fallaciously inefficient. This 5 degree C increase is the aftermath of a growing ingeniousness. And if we don’t act, and fast, providing efficient solutions, applying them well, we are doing nothing but sticking a pathetic Band-Aid on a fast growing cancerous tumor.

  2. I believe global warming represents one of the major injustices that many people are suffering and would still suffer from. Unfortunately, not so many people are aware of the tragic end these companies are leading us to; as there are many petitions and calls for movement against such actions yet with a shortage in signatures and participation. We need to raise awareness so we can act to stop this increase in temperature that would impact earth catastrophically.

  3. Nicolas Abdallah (BIOL207)

    How is reading a statement like “for developing countries, renewable energy is faster, cheaper, more decentralised and has the benefit of not polluting the air, water or land” from a reliable source supposed to make you feel? That there’s much hope, right? How does it make you feel now after knowing that rich countries are still sticking to their high energy-consuming and carbon-emitting strategies despite that fact? The word you’re searching for here is “disgusted”, even “frustrated”. That’s just a small representation of the bitter truth that all climate change summits that have been organized so far are meaningless. All they did is just come up with a report telling us that we will all burn by the end of this century, and measures should be taken to avoid that. Without actually taking any significant decisions that show that governments are really aware of the countdown set by our environment to tell us that it can’t tolerate this anymore! Oh yes, there’s also another point of these conferences: taking photos. How did I miss that?!

    I wasn’t much surprised when I read that the U.S. is trying to escape from its responsibilities to help poor nations adapt to climate change, a phenomenon that the U.S. itself is the main contributor at. This is a nation that has been spreading war ideology and hatred ever since the second world war. It fights crimes with more crimes. It invades and damages countries under the cover of “bringing democracy to them”, whereas the main aim behind this is to have control over the richnesses of these countries. This is a beast that has created the capitalism that’s managing our world in the worst possible way.

    An example of capitalism would be how major companies are dividing tasks among them: some are causing the huge increase in earth’s temperature, others are benefiting from it. Nothing will make Starbucks happier than adding a few cents to the price of their already over-priced coffee, as coffee will be much affected by global warming, as we can tell from this article recently published in “the guardian”.(http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/28/climate-change-bad-expensive-coffee-ipcc).

    What we urgently need is to stop exchanging blames, and start working on a comprehensive plan to reduce pollution and control corporate activities, in order to save our planet, while we still have something left to save.


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