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57 companies linked to 80% of GHG emissions since 2016

A report from the Carbon Majors Database reveals that a mere 57 companies have been responsible for 80% of global GHG emissions since 2016.

Thred Media
3 min readApr 11, 2024


Disclaimer: This update is not intended to create a sense of nihilism or apathy regarding attitudes towards civil action and the mitigation of climate change.

We prefer to pontificate that transparency is the key to ultimately holding offenders responsible. So, with that in mind, let’s bear witness to the latest revelations.

The Carbon Majors Database has published a new report stating that just 57 companies are linked to as much as 80% of GHG emissions generated since 2016. Why 2016, you ask? Because that was the year that the Paris Agreement was formally established.

It’s no secret that oil barons, both state and corporate-owned, are the key driver of anthropogenic climate change, but the data shows that this cohort of mega-emitters significantly scaled up their output immediately after the green reform was drawn up.

In the seven years since, ExxonMobil has been public enemy number one — linked to 3.6 gigatons of CO2, equivalent to 1.4% of all emissions globally. Close behind were Shell, BP, Chevron, and TotalEnergies who were each responsible for another 1% respectively.

The report’s most notable trend is the drastic upturn in emissions from state-owned producers since 2016, particularly in the Asian coal sector. You can zero in on the specifics of nations and industries on Influence Map, which was established in 2013.

If you’re after one major summation to take from this, however, it’s that the fossil fuel industry never had any intention of honouring the terms of the Paris Agreement. Make no mistake, our present lack of progress is largely attributable to the entities listed.

While any lack of sustainable progress was previously easy to conceal, though, the future will require many of these companies to own their stance brazenly and deal with the consequences.

In 2023, a non-profit organisation called International Reporting Standards Foundation released climate-related disclosure standards.

These provide governments, investors, and — most importantly — the public with a detailed overview of how companies are performing in terms of their sustainable rehabilitations.

Thanks to these efforts and other online resources, the greenwashing tactics of corporations can be unearthed quicker than a barrel of crude oil. Frothy PR campaigns talking of social responsibility won’t fly when easily accessible data underscores the grim reality.

We will be among thousands of others closely watching the progress — or lack thereof — of the 57 companies identified in the coming years.

We’re hopeful that the efforts of Influence Map and Carbon Majors Data won’t be in vain, but we’re not exactly holding our breath. Either way, we’ll be stockpiling our evidence from transparency reports.

The onus to change cannot be placed on civilians and individual action when the practices of a few greedy outfits brought us here to begin with. The same cohort is now scuppering efforts to turn the tide.

Originally written by Jamie Watts for Thred.