The Dirty Dozen: the fossil fuel industry’s polluting league table

Study shows 12 top energy companies pump out more CO2 than the US, Japan and Russia combined

(Pic: Flickr xc biker)

(Pic: Flickr xc biker)

By Alex Pashley

The fossil fuel industry’s top emitting dozen make up 22% of global emissions, new research reveals.

Led by Russia’s Gazprom, the coal, oil and gas multinationals emit 8.4 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) a year, according to a report by Thomson Reuters.

Crunching data on the footprint of 500 companies’ supply chains, the findings underscore the contribution of the energy sector to global warming through extraction, transportation, to marketing to the consumer.

Emissions gap

Greenhouse gases emitted by the world’s top 32 energy companies climbed 1.3% between 2010-2013, in sharp contrast to the 4.2% fall in the same period the UN recommended to keep the planet’s temperatures within manageable limits.

And that trend must reverse, falling to 45% of the 2010 total by mid-century for the world to stay within a 2C temperature rise by the end of the century.

Thomson Reuters compiled the research through companies’ disclosures and production estimates, helped by the Carbon Disclosure Project and Climate Accountability Institute.

The information firm said the report wasn’t a exercise in “naming and shaming”, but one of transparency to spur climate leadership among corporates to cut carbon from the production process.

Here’s the ‘dirty dozen’ league table.


1. Gazprom – 1,260 MtCO2e – 10.7% of top 32 emissions


(Pic: Wikimedia commons)

Russia’s Gazprom, partially owned by the Kremlin since its 1989 privatisation, is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world.

2. Coal India – 820 MtCO2e  – 7%

India’s state-owned coal miner is the world’s largest producer, churning out four-fifths of its domestic production.

3. Glencore Xstrata – 811 MtCO2e (6.9%)


The Antapaccay open cast coopper mine in Peru (Pic: Flickr)

The Anglo-Swiss commodities trader is the world’s largest company involved in the mining sector with $220 billion revenues in 2014.

4. Petro China – 807 MtCO2e (6.9%)


(Pic: Flickr)

Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, Petro China has invested big in Africa, with projects in Sudan to Angola.

5. Rosneft – 705 MtCO2e (6%)


Rosneft headquarters in Moscow (Wikimedia commons)

Russia’s largest oil producer, part-owned by the Kremlin, has drilling operations from Siberia to Chechnya.

6. Shell – 683 MtCO2e (5.8%)


(Pic: wikimedia commons)

Anglo-Dutch Shell produces 3.1 million barrels of oil a day in over 70 countries, and recently came under fire for its Arctic drilling plans.

7. Exxon Mobil – 677 MtCO2e (5.8%)


An Exxon filling station (Wikimedia commons)

The 125-year old American oiler is one of the world’s ‘supermajors’ and behind one of history’s worst spills off the coast of Alaska in 1989.

8. Total – 600 MtCO2e (5.1%)

The French oil and gas giant employs over 100,000 people in its diverse operations and made a €8.4 billion profit in 2013.

9. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. – 588 MtCO2e (5.1%)

chairman at wec

Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu (wikimedia commons)

Asia largest refiner, Sinopec, has over 30,000 gas stations in the country, and had $397 billion revenues in 2011

10. Petrobras – 573 MtCO2e (4.9%)


Brazil’s state oiler and largest company has shot to the top of the country’s political agenda amid a corruption probe which inflicted $7 billion of losses in 2014 .

11. BP – 478 MtCO2e (4.1%)


BP’s Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico, 2005 (Wikimedia commons)

British Petroleum pumped out 3.2 million barrels a day in 2014, while its carbon footprint fell by 36% between 2010-13 according to the report.

12. Chevron – 425 MtCO2e (3.6%)


(wikimedia commons)

US oiler Chevron is the country’s second-largest investing $40 billion last year. It was founded in the 1879 after oil’s discovery in California.

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