In what The Guardian describes as "half a century of dither and denial", 20 fossil fuel companies are being called out in new analysis on big oil's role in the escalating climate emergency.
The striking analysis by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the US asserts that this not-so-illustrious Top 20 has contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totaling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO₂e) since 1965.
Let's be honest, even Guardian readers have some individual responsibility for the negative impact of carbon emissions - we've all feasted on our fair share of oil from the likes of Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell. But for Heede these companies have a "significant moral, financial, and legal responsibility for the climate crisis, and a commensurate burden to help address the problem."
The science of climate change is so brutally undeniable for all but the greatest of fools. We all have to play our part in making demonstrable changes. But some have a greater obligation and, more importantly, have the power and weight of resources to do more.
So, to the Top 20 - imagine what an impact you could make on this planet if you could be bolder, braver and quicker in making change happen. Imagine how great your companies would be if you actually saved the world!
“Even though global consumers from individuals to corporations are the ultimate emitters of carbon dioxide, the Climate Accountability Institute focuses its work on the fossil fuel companies that, in our view, have their collective hand on the throttle and the tiller determining the rate of carbon emissions and the shift to non-carbon fuels.”