Due to the high levels of emissions in both their operations and the consumption of their product, fossil fuel companies are the top emitters. According to one study, since 1988 just one hundred companies have released 71 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions—the top ten of which are fossil fuel companies.
In 2015 alone, fossil fuel companies and their products, particularly oil and gas, were responsible for 91 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions and around 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions tied to human activity.
Why is it important to know the top greenhouse gas emitters?
Since climate change greatly affects every issue we face today, understanding the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on our economies and our environment is crucial. Understanding which countries, industries, and companies are the top greenhouse gas emitters can help policymakers decide where to focus their attention as they tackle issues such as global trade, job growth, energy independence, environmental safety regulations, and more.
This knowledge also raises questions: Should those responsible for emitting the most greenhouse gases also be most responsible for mitigating and reversing the effects of climate change? And if so, what metric should be used to determine who these top emitters are?