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NRT: Climate change: The enemy

Written By: - Date published: 2:12 pm, November 21st, 2013 - 31 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

No Right Turn points to a study on what companies have produced the majority of greenhouse gas emissions. Makes quite a discrete target for litigation? 

Who’s responsible for climate change? It turns out that 90 companies are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all emissions:

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.


Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

And more climate change means more storms like Typhoon Haiyan, more death, and more destruction. So its basically us or them: their future profits – or our futures. And that’s a pretty obvious choice.

The full list of companies is here.

31 comments on “NRT: Climate change: The enemy ”

  1. karol 1

    Yes. very interesting. I read this earlier on NRT. The interactive map is great (at the “full list of companies”) – click on either investor owned, state owned etc – then on the button in the centre of the graph to return to the overview.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Very interesting. This complements perfectly a 2011 result which said that 40% of the global economy was controlled by a tightly knit and inter-related group of 147 trans-national corporations.


  3. Tracey 3

    Colin Craig, National’s new coalition party post 2014, apparenly has views on this.

    However when you go to the party website and click on issues, environment doesnt feature.

    Law & Order

    • karol 3.1

      It is addressed in the “Ask Colin” section of the website.

      In his response, Craig oultines the party position on Climate & says it’s available on a brochure that can be downloaded from the website – buggered if I can find it.

      • Tracey 3.1.1

        Yup, but he sees it as a subset of which of the above?

        His lists is like something from the 1950’s, which makes sense when you think about it 😉

        • karol

          Yes. He obviously doesn’t consider climate change to be a priority. And he aims for the apparent simplicity of earlier times.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Er, 90 companies don’t just create emissions.

    Customers buy and use their products. Customers create the emissions.

    If it were 9000 companies instead of 90, it would still be the customers of the 9000 companies making the emissions, not 90.

    I feel like this story really does the climate change crusade a disservice in that it’s shirking responsibility from the consumers onto the producers. The producers only make what is demanded by their customers.

    It’s pretty easy to imagine an American blaming “big oil like BP and Chevron” for climate change, instead of actually considering their own personal actions and behaviours as being the cause.

    • karol 4.1

      I disagree. Producers these days, aim to create demand through advertising, marketing, lobbying governments to provide infrastructure for their products and services, etc.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        It’s difficult to market and create demand for a product no one wants.

        • karol

          They do tend to encourage and cultivate desires. They certainly promote products and services no-one really needs.

          • Lanthanide

            True. But like I said, if it was 9000 companies instead of 90, we’d probably see the same amount of consumption anyway, because it’s the consumers that matter.

        • Rogue Trooper

          Having done a marketing paper at Uni, I disagree; the demand is generally created; How did we ever get on before an espresso machines, foot-spas and GHD hair-straighteners in our homes.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      However customers live and behave in the social-economic framework shaped but politicians and corporates.

      We have an economic system which pushes for maximum individual consumption while doing things like building more roads, closing down railway lines, and making sure that public transport is hindered at every turn.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        However customers live and behave in the social-economic framework shaped but politicians and corporates.

        A good example is the roads and the suburban sprawl that we’ve seen over the last few decades.

    • Tracey 4.3

      While people have to take responsibility for what they buy and from whom, if those 90 companies stopped producing emissions that would go a long way to easing future issues? In any event naming the 90 now gives people the chance to change their buying habits. Before this report they didnt know.

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        People don’t need to stop their buying habits.

        They need to stop their buying.

        • Paul

          Citizens not consumers

          • Colonial Viper

            Correct. Simple fact: modern economic activity generates GHGs and consumes fossil fuels.

            The current belief is that we can still have it all, as much as we want, whenever we want, with maximum yields on our investments, and somehow still save the planet.

        • Tracey

          That’s the spirit, hold out for the giant step and mock the small steps. It’s irrelevant what you want CV, it’s about how to shift a HUGE mental gridlock, how does your revolution look when it comes. paint me the strategic picture.

          • Colonial Viper

            The mental grid lock is not going to shift; I don’t think there is any answer to making it shift.

            The most likely outcome is that our global civilisation is going to smash face first into climate change consequences and energy/physical resource depletion in the next 20 to 30 years. Poorer highly populated countries are going to be worst off. Rich countries will keep the pedal down to the metal the whole way off the cliff. (See Tony Abbott in Australia as an example).

            The paper assets and electronic financial wealth that people have been so busy acquiring and using as justification for our current economic behaviours, will rather ironically become valueless around this time.

  5. Tracey 5

    Mr Cunliffe is not anti drilling

    “Mr Cunliffe said Labour was “not opposed in principle to responsible and environmentally sensible” offshore exploration.

    But any consent to be granted under a government led by him would need world-class environment standards, top clean-up capability, full liability cover, a fair deal for taxpayers and a high level of consultation.

    Mr Cunliffe said the deep sea drilling industry was a “responsible” one, and hoped for a “mature conversation” with Texas oil giant Anadarko, which is behind the plans.”

    • karol 5.1

      Mind you, I wonder if it is commercially viable to meet all the precautionary and “environmentally sensible”/responsible requirements, ie making these requirements could ultimately mean no drilling?

  6. vto 6

    It’s raining at the moment. Good for the veges. When do you know a cauli is ready?

    • CnrJoe 6.1

      raining cats and dogs?
      Collies r always up for it

    • Rogue Trooper 6.2

      I let them grow as big, and white as possible before the florets begin separating, though, not always. Have harvested one from home, and one from the community garden these past two days (to give away, along with cabbage, silver-beet and humungous brocoli). The potatoes are ‘this tall’, beginning to flower, and the dwarf butter-beans have poked through the soil. Satisfaction!

  7. johnm 7

    My understanding is Climate Change may well finish off humanity. What do you think of this documentary? Not that anyone will bother to view it but here goes: The Arctic death spiral and the methane time bomb


    Don’t forget: Ignorance is bliss: The enemy is us and our complacency, our inability to face up to this great catastrophe, our denial and selfishness.

    • tracey 7.1

      why would you assume no one would click your link? If you thought that why waste our energy posting it?

      • johnm 7.1.1

        My position confirmed by the lack of response. The Standard basically seems to be a forum for smart aleck commentators arguing petty irrelevant points and details in an ego inflating way who in fact are trolls w.nking off any genuine discussion. So typical of New Zealand going down the Shonkey plughole. Bye. Xtasy has found the same lack of connection to reality.

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