Eight of the world’s largest oil companies are responsible for as much of the climate-damaging pollution spewed into the atmosphere as the entire U.S., according to a study by a London-based researcher.
Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil Corp., OAO Gazprom, the National Iranian Oil Co., BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc were among the eight companies whose fuel was responsible for a third of emissions from oil and gas, according to the non-profit group CDP. The companies released a fifth of all greenhouse gases outside of farming and forestry since 1988, the year most governments acknowledged man-made climate change as a risk.
The findings suggest policymakers may be better off focusing on the practices of companies instead of national environmental policies. The study’s release coincides with preparations by U.S. President Donald Trump to slash environmental regulations and possibly withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement, which promises to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels.
“One way to really drive forward climate action is to look at the key producers of fossil fuels who are causing the globe to warm, this is what the new CDP data brings to life,” said Paul Simpson, chief executive officer of CDP, which surveys companies and collects data on sustainability issues.
“The facts are the facts,” said Michael Tadeo, spokesman for American Petroleum Institute, in an email. “The United States is leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas and in the reduction of carbon emissions which are at their lowest levels in more than 20 years.”