Apr 4, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Handful of producers churn out 80% of post-Paris emissions

Organizations with the greatest CO2 emissions, 2016 to 2022
Data: The Carbon Majors database; Chart: Axios Visuals

Just 57 fossil fuel and cement producers are linked to 80% of global fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, a new report finds.

Why it matters: Many producers, be they state-owned entities or investor-owned oil companies, have been expanding production, and emitting more CO2, since Paris was signed.

Zoom in: The report, from the London-based think tank InfluenceMap, updates the Carbon Majors database, which was published by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute in 2014.

  • The database quantifies how the world's biggest oil, gas, coal and cement producers contributed to global carbon emissions between 1854 and 2022.

Driving the news: The majority of fossil fuel companies showed higher production in the seven years after the Paris Agreement compared with the seven-year period before it, the report finds, led by state-owned companies.

  • Researchers found the increase in production since 2016 has been dominated by Asia, where coal production significantly influences emissions.

How it works: The report's methods focus on fossil fuel producers. Emissions attributed to these extraction companies include CO2 from parties that burn their fuels, like power companies and manufacturers; or make products that use them, like automakers.

The intrigue: The new data makes clear how most of the global CO2 emissions since 2016 are from a small number of high emitters that are not slowing their production in a manner more consistent with Paris guidelines.

  • State-owned companies account for 37% of CO2 emissions since 2016, whereas investor-owned companies accounted for 25%, InfluenceMap finds.

Stunning stat: Since 1854, just 19 entities contributed 50% of global CO2 emissions worldwide, InfluenceMap found.

Between the lines: Of the state-owned companies, the biggest emitters were Saudi Aramco, with a global share of 4.8% of CO2 emissions since 2016; then Gazprom and Coal India, the data shows.

  • The list of largest investor-owned company emitters since 2016 are led by Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP.
  • An interesting trend is taking place on the coal side, where supply has been shifting from investor-owned to state-owned entities, InfluenceMap program manager Daan Van Acker told Axios.
  • Emissions from investor-owned coal production dropped by 27.9% from 2015 to 2022. However, emissions from nation-states' coal industries and state-owned coal producers grew by a greater amount during the same period, researchers found.

The backstory: The Carbon Majors Database, which InfluenceMap is relaunching as a standalone website, was intended to help drive efforts to hold fossil fuel producers accountable for contributing to global warming's harmful effects.

What they're saying: "We're seeing an increase in concentration in terms of a smaller number of producers being linked to an even larger portion of global fossil CO2 emissions," said Van Acker.

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