Thirty two energy firms account for a third of global emissions

Thirty two of the world's largest energy firms account for around a third of all man-made emissions when the burning of the fuel they produce is taken into account.


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The figures come from a new report released on Wednesday by Thomson Reuters and BSD Consulting.

These so-called ‘scope 3 emissions’ are not normally included on a company’s accounts, but the report authors said they wanted to increase transparency around the world’s largest polluters.

The emissions of these 32 energy giants rose by 1.3% between 2010-13, despite international efforts to cut emissions.

It means the gap between the emissions level suggested by UNEP and actual emissions produced by the 32 firms reached 5.5% in 2013. “The gap matters the most” proclaimed the report.

The emissions gap

Responsibility

Russia’s Gazprom topped the list of emitters, with 5 UK companies also featured, including BP, Anglo American, BG Group, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

The authors – John Moorhead and Tim Nixon – were quick to point out that the report was not a “naming and shaming exercise”, but rather an opportunity to increase transparency.

They wrote: “We all need to play a part if we are to bring emissions back into line within planetary boundaries. In one sense, consumption begins with consumers; energy companies are only going to produce what consumers will buy.

“But another increasingly important role is the part played by the energy sector itself to deploy its considerable political, financial and technical resources for advances in energy innovation and the related financial and policy frameworks.

Moorhead and Nixon added that they wanted to see these energy giants choose a sustainable path going forward.

Outlook

Global emissions actually stalled in 2014 for the first time without an economic slowdown.

The pause was attributed to a slowdown in China’s economy, which suggests next years figures could be even better, as China has already reported a staggering emissions reduction in the first four months of 2015.

Brad Allen

 

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