Just 100 Companies Responsible For 71% Of Global Emissions, Study Says

An oil rig exploring for oil and gas. A new report says more than 50% of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 companies. Photograph: Dazman/Getty Images/iStockphoto

By Tess Riley for The Guardian – Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report. The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute. Traditionally, large scale greenhouse gas emissions data is collected at a national level but this report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it is intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change. The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 – the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established – can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988.

Historic Shrinking Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Linked To CO2 Spike

Fossilized leaves hold evidence of a sharp increase in carbon dioxide levels as the Antarctic ice sheet began to shrink 23 million years ago, a new study finds. Photo: Tammo Reichgelt/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

By Stacy Morford for LDEO – Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today’s to one about half its modern size. Computer models suggested a spike in carbon dioxide levels as the cause, but the evidence was elusive – until now. Ancient fossilized leaves retrieved from a lake bed in New Zealand now show for the first time that carbon dioxide levels increased dramatically over a relatively short period of time as the ice sheet began to deteriorate.

Removing CO2 From Air Only Hope For Fixing Climate Change

Protests Are Held For The Climate Change Day Of Action

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – The only way to keep young people from inheriting a world reeling from catastrophic climate change is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions dramatically and immediately, according to a new paper. Not only that, but it’s also necessary to aggressively remove greenhouse gas that’s already accumulated. “If rapid emission reductions are initiated soon, it is still possible that at least a large fraction of required CO2 extraction can be achieved via relatively natural agricultural and forestry practices with other benefits,” the authors wrote.

Hundreds Of Groups Demand: Obama Leave Carbon In The Ground

Climate change activists’ graffiti on a billboard near the Didcot coal-fired power station in Oxfordshire, UK. Photograph: Tim Myers

By Michael Saul for Center for Biological Diversity – WASHINGTON— More than 250 climate, community and tribal organizations filed a landmark legal petition today calling on the Obama administration to halt all new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands — a step that would align U.S. energy policies with its climate goals and keep up to 450 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution from entering the atmosphere. The petition, filed under the federal Administrative Procedures Act, calls on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to place an immediate moratorium on new leases for federally managed, publicly owned oil, gas, tar sands and oil shale.

Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Set To Pass 400ppm—Permanently

The findings highlight increasingly urgent concerns about global efforts to curb climate change as outlined in the Paris agreement. (Photo: Mikael Miettinen/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Record carbon dioxide levels are set to surpass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (PPM) this year and will likely never fall below that line again in our lifetimes, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Scientists at the UK Met Office used emissions data, sea surface temperature figures, and a climate model from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii to track the trajectory of CO2 levels and found that carbon dioxide “will for the first time remain above 400 ppm all year and hence for our lifetimes.”

Higher Social Costs Bolster Case For Emissions Curbs

Smoke stacks at a coal-fired power plant near Cincinnati in the US. Photo by Robert S. Donovan

Concerted action on climate change is looking like a bargain after research findings that the notional cost to society of global warming damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions has been seriously underestimated. The US Environmental Protection Agency calculates the “social cost of carbon” at $37 per tonne—a figure used to guide current energy regulations and possible future mitigation policies. But two US researchers now put the cost for CO2 emitted in 2015 about six times higher—at $220 a tonne. They report in Nature Climate Change that damage from climate change could directly affect economic growth rates, and will go on doing so, because each “temperature shock” could have a persistent effect that would permanently lower gross domestic product—the wealth indicator used by all economists—from what it would be if the world wasn’t warming.

EPA’s Carbon Rule Falls Short Of Real Emissions Reduction

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“On the heels of two telling reports from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Climate Assessment detailing the substantial negative impacts from climate change around the world, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) decision to incorporate emissions trading and offsetting in their new carbon dioxide rule undermines its ability to deliver the real reductions in carbon emissions so urgently needed. “We applaud the President for using the tools he has available, with a Congress that refuses to act and for setting hard targets for emissions reductions. However, the targets don’t make the U.S. a leader in seeking emissions reduction. Because this rule applies to only one segment of our economy, existing coal-fired power plants, the reduction targets fall far short of the IPCC’s goals for developed countries of economy-wide reductions of 15 to 40 percent below 1990 emission by 2020. With these targets, U.S. economy-wide emissions would still be above 1990 levels in 2030.

Northern Hemisphere Cracks 400 ppm CO₂ For Whole Month For First Time

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Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere crossed a significant threshold in April, just weeks after the White House released a major report on the impacts of climate change and just days before the Obama Administration is set to propose new restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants. The concentration of CO₂, widely seen as the most important greenhouse gas, averaged more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for the entire month of April across the Northern Hemisphere, the first time scientists have seen levels that high and that widespread for an entire month. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced the new milestone on Monday. CO₂ levels above 400 ppm were recorded for the first time in 2012 in the Arctic. On a few days in the spring of 2013 they exceeded that threshold at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where measurements have been made since 1958.