Just 100 Companies are Responsible for 71% of Global CO2 Emissions
That headline could have been a fake news story because it sounds so unbelievable. Unfortunately, it’s true.
“Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a 2017 report. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures the Carbon Majors Report (pdf) 1 “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions.”
“The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report.
“If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by 2100. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.” – Article from The Guardian, U.K.2
We didn't list all 100, just the top 25.
After reading that study, we decided to look for the actual amount, the exact number of tons, going into the atmosphere. We are up to 41.09 BILLION metric tons globally. Most of us can’t wrap our minds around such an enormous number. Billion with a B. We break it down to more understandable numbers via comparisons later in this article.
Something we found interesting is, as the graphics below show, the increase from 1995 to 2005 was 4.54 Billion Metric Tons (from 28.79 Billion Tons to 33.33 Billion Tons). But the increase jumped considerably from 2005 to 2015 during the time when many companies, and countries, were doing their part and recycling, retrofitting, reducing, etc., to slow down the growth of emissions.
The emissions from 2005 to 2015 INCREASED by 7.76 Billion Tons, nearly double the amount of the previous 10 years. The small efforts on the part of the major producers are not only not nearly enough – their efforts are simply not working. Something else HAS to be done. And that something is to suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere through phytoremediation. And it won’t take BILLIONS of acres but only 216 million. Texas is 167,624,960 acres, throw in South Dakota (which has steadily rising unemployment and a lot of depleted farmland) at 49 million acres, and you’ve got your 216 million acres.
Cannabis is the answer over all the alternatives being looked at because the plant captures carbon while growing (1 acre of cannabis captures up to 20 tons of carbon) and continues to capture carbon throughout the lifecycle of the products made from it. Industrial cannabis has thousands of uses, many in place today, and the industry is growing. From plastics to concrete to supercapacitors, hemp is a VIABLE solution to replace petroleum based products.
Something we never hear anyone say is this: hemp can be planted and will start helping the atmosphere right away. It does not need to get harvested so, even without infrastructure in place quite yet; infrastructure that will allow for global, large scale hemp harvesting, it can start helping capture the carbon. Just HAVING IT GROWING, everywhere would start capturing the carbon. The thousands of additional benefits can come later, just start growing it . . . NOW.
Enormous numbers like billion and metric tons boggle the mind so let’s put the numbers into perspective to get an idea of how BAD 41.09 BILLION Metric Tons of CO2 is; and how much cannabis is needed to absorb that much CO2 out of the atmosphere. The cannabis part is simple, 216 million acres.
Breaking down the huge amount of CO2 into understandable (although still staggering) amount was a little tougher. We decided to convert it into water because most people on the planet have seen a gallon jug of water at some point in their life.
We converted the metric tons to gallons of water: 41,090,000,000 metric tons of CO2 equals 10,854,745,300,000 gallons of water (which is 41,089,680,770,938 liters.) That’s over 10 TRILLION gallons of water. Ten trillion gallons of water is enough to fill 15.1 MILLION Olympic-sized swimming pools.
There are more than 326 Million Trillion gallons of water on Earth. Less than three percent of all this water is freshwater (bringing it down to 97.8 Trillion.) But, of that amount, more than two-thirds is locked up in ice caps and glaciers so that only leaves approximately 32.6 Trillion gallons of total available freshwater. 10.8 Trillon gallons is approximately 1/3 of 32 Trillion gallons.
So, in comparing greenhouse gas to water, take ONE THIRD of the earth’s entire available freshwater supply and replace it with poison gas. So how about water in containers? 10.8 trillion gallons of water equals 2.16 BILLION 5,025 gallon water tanks.
These water tanks are roughly the size of 17 Ft. Uhaul trucks so imagine, if you can, 2.16 BILLION 17 Ft. Uhaul Trucks full of water. But they’re only approximately the same size se we’ll have to say more like 25 billion. Now let’s look at semi-trucks to try to wrap your mind around 41.09 BILLION metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. Remember, 41.09 Billion metric tons = 10.8 Trillion gallons.
To hold 10.8 Trillion gallons of water you would need 212,838,143 semi-trucks. One semi can hold approximately 5,100 gallons of water (in 1 gallon containers.) So, 212.8 MILLION semi-trucks full of water approximates 10.8 trillion gallons. To put THAT number into perspective, there are only approximately 33.8 million semi’s on the road in America today.
The ability of cannabis to absorb ever-increasing amounts of CO2 demonstrates that this ancient species most likely evolved about 32 million years ago when CO2 levels were at approximately 1200ppm (and the planet was uninhabited.) Today, as CO2 levels rise (they’re at 406 PPM as of Oct. 2017), the hemp plant responds by growing larger and faster...up to 44% larger. If we had millions of acres of hemp growing worldwide, we wouldn't have the global crisis of steadily rising levels of CO2.
To again quote the Guardian article: “But for many the sums involved and pace of change are nowhere near enough. A research paper published last year by Paul Stevens, an academic at think tank Chatham House, said international oil companies were no longer fit for purpose and warned these multinationals that they faced a nasty, brutish and short end within the next 10 years if they did not completely change their business models.”
Third time’s a charm; we quote the Guardian for the 3rd and last time; in this quote, we find a ray of hope: “There is a “growing wave of companies that are acting in the opposite manner to the companies in this report,” says Brune. Nearly 100 companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Ikea have committed to 100% renewable power under the RE100 initiative. Volvo recently announced that all its cars would be electric or hybrid from 2019. And oil and gas companies are also embarking on green investments. Shell set up a renewables arm in 2015 with a $1.7bn investment attached.”
So what can YOU do? Start fighting for industrial hemp legislation and invest in clean energy infrastructure. Write your government representatives. Tell it to everyone on Facebook, LinkedIn and wherever else you hang your social hat…and then tell them again. Tell them to tell their friends.
Word of mouth is much more efficient than the world’s energy corporations will ever be. If you’re an investor in fossil fuels, you’re backing a wounded dinosaur. Those are dangerous, we hear. Sure have been dangerous for this planet’s eco-system! Read the dual message in the text below…and then go DO something.
1. PDF of the Carbon Majors Report - Carbon Majors Report