The 100 People and Companies Responsible for 71% of the World’s Carbon Emissions

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Sure, we can cut down on our plastic lids at Starbucks or reduce our bags at the grocery checkout.

And maybe we can try to have a backyard composter to ease up on the waste that makes it to landfill.

Some of us are even going vegetarian or vegan to help cut back on carbon-producing animals that were once a mainstay of our diets.

Of course, when we recycle, we know a LOT of it winds up in landfill or the ocean.

We do the little things because we want to believe the little things will add up.

But they won’t.

Just 100 people head the 100 companies that produce 71% of the world’s emissions.

Here’s some additional insight on this report from The Guardian UK.

Carbon Tracker study in 2015 found that fossil fuel companies risked wasting more than $2tn over the coming decade by pursuing coal, oil and gas projects that could be worthless in the face of international action on climate change and advances in renewables – in turn posing substantial threats to investor returns.

A fifth of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions are backed by public investment, according to the report. “That puts a significant responsibility on those investors to engage with carbon majors and urge them to disclose climate risk,” says Faria.

Investors should move out of fossil fuels, says Michael Brune, executive director of US environmental organisation the Sierra Club. “Not only is it morally risky, it’s economically risky. The world is moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy and is doing so at an accelerated pace. Those left holding investments in fossil fuel companies will find their investments becoming more and more risky over time.”

Of course, none of these companies would exist if we simply dialed back on everything we consumed on a daily basis, but it’s an important reminder that change will have to come from 7 billion of us demanding our governments to take action against these corporate giants.

For the record, some of this information is moderately misleading. The Pentagon is recorded as the world’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gases compared to the rest of the US government. If I make a similar leap in logic, then we’d get rid of all military around the globe, but we know that’s just not going to happen.

Which brings me back to the key question of the article: can we as individuals have an impact on what happens on a global level or should we pressure our governments to institute reforms that might work against the interest of specifici companies and their shareholders?

An alternative is that if we have money to save, we make that our investment managers or our own decisions go towards options that focus on renewables and companies that have a substantially smaller carbon footprint.

Or maybe all three (and more).

Let’s go!

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