"Don’t blame consumers."

Blame Game

If you're looking for someone to blame the worsening degradation of the climate upon, look no further than these 57 entities, which according to researchers are the main culprits behind climate change.

The Carbon Majors Database, which compiles the worst carbon emissions offenders, has released a new briefing about the companies doing the most harm to the climate. Founded in 2013 by Richard Heede, the cofounder and codirector of the Climate Accountability Institute, the Carbon Majors Database's last report in 2017 was condemnation enough — and this latest update, which looks at emissions numbers during the six-year period between the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and 2022, is even worse.

As the new report indicates, just 57 industrial and state entities have since the 2015 Paris agreement produced the lion's share of greenhouse gas emissions. About a third are investor-owned oil companies like the US-based ExxonMobil and Chevron, and England's BP. State-owned energy corporations like Saudi Aramco and Russia's Gazprom make up another 36 percent, and nation-state producers, such as those in China and Russia, comprise the final 31 percent.

Overall, the top 57 main offenders account for a whopping 88 percent of global emissions, comprising a shocking 251 gigatons of carbon dioxide.

Bigger Picture

Beyond the damning data, the Carbon Majors Database also seeks to turn back the tides of climate change by holding polluters accountable. According to the group, its work has helped establish corporate accountability for climate-related human rights violations in the Philippines and gotten key metrics codified, such as the quantification these companies and countries make to rises in global surface temperature, sea level, and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Mainly, however, the group seeks to shift the spotlight where it belongs: onto the moneyed interests driving climate change, rather than indviduals who have little choice but to play by their rules.

"It is morally reprehensible for companies to continue expanding exploration and production of carbon fuels in the face of knowledge now for decades that their products are harmful," Heede told The Guardian. "Don’t blame consumers who have been forced to be reliant on oil and gas due to government capture by oil and gas companies."

When The Guardian reached out to the aforementioned main offenders, its reporters didn't get a response. In fact, the only company that did respond on record was Shell, which accounted between 2016 and 2022 for two percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

"Shell is committed to becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050," a company spokesperson told the newspaper, "a target we believe supports the more ambitious goal of the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels."

More on pollution: Trees "Coughing" as They Fail to Capture Excess CO2

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