63 % of global industrial emissions between 1751 and 2010 traced to 90 companies

Comparison of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from 90 companies with global
Comparison of global and carbon major entities’ CO2 emissions, 1850–2010. Global (black line) and carbon major entities’ emissions of CO2 and methane (red line).

For the first time historic carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions have been traced to the largest corporate investor-owned and state-owned producers of fossil fuels and cement in 43 countries. 90 large companies were included in the analysis of which 50 are investor-owned companies, 31 are state-owned enterprises, and 9 are current or former centrally planned states. 56 are crude oil and natural gas producers, 37 are coal producers, and 7 are cement makers. Company production records from as early as 1854 to 2010 were retrieved from publicly available annual reports from library collections, from company websites, company reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, company histories, and other sources.

Historically the 90 entities produced a total of 914 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2e). This represents 63 % of global industrial CO2 and methane between 1751 and 2010 and is derived from fossil fuel combustion, flaring, venting, fugitive or vented methane, own fuel use, and cement .

Carbon dioxide and methane emissions from 90 investor and state owned companies
Carbon Majors’ emissions by ownership category, 1910–2010.

The top source of emissions is 366 GtCO2 from the combustion of oil products from 55 entities.  Cumulatively, emissions of 315 GtCO2e have been traced to investor-owned entities, 288 GtCO2e to state-owned companies, and 312 GtCO2e to nation-states. The dip in production by nation-states in the late 1980s through early 2000s reflects the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of new state-owned oil and natural gas entities in Russia as well as the transformation of China’s petroleum sector into state-owned entities.  Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010, Heede, R. Climatic Change (2014) 122: 229. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0986-y