Which Companies “Caused” Global Warming?


This may sound obnoxious, but some environmental journalism is of very low quality. Take for example this article today from The Guardian:

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.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Goreas a “crucial step forward” found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.

“There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. “But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.”

The left, especially the environmental left, is very keen on taking drastic action to lower carbon dioxide emissions. The paper that this article is based on may be useful in an accounting sense (i.e., BP produces some percentage of global oil, etc.) but the journalist clearly intends to harm the public reputation of these companies by blaming the rise in carbon dioxide emissions on them.

It doesn’t take a very clever person to realize that while companies may have dug up the fossil fuels, for the most part they didn’t use these products. They sold these products to the 7 or so billion people living on this planet. If their products weren’t useful, people wouldn’t buy them and they would have gone out of business. And it turns out that their products are very useful:


Most of the world’s population relies on fossil fuels to survive. Coal, oil, natural gas, and cement are produced because people around the world are willing to pay good money for them on a daily basis to survive. It would be more accurate to say that the world’s 7 billion people (and all of the people living since the development of fossil fuels) caused global-warming emissions.

That story doesn’t create a good versus evil narrative.





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