Chevron Corp. has produced more greenhouse gases than any other fossil-fuel company, according to a study released as global climate talks continued today in Lima.
Chevron edged out state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. for the amount of historical emissions produced by their operations since the dawn of the industrial age, according to the report released in Lima by the Climate Accountability Institute, a Snowmass, Colorado-based research and advocacy group. Exxon Mobil Corp. came in third, with the top 20 fossil-fuel companies accounting for almost a third of all greenhouse-gas production since 1751.
The reports highlight the liability fossil-fuel producers may face as their role in driving climate change becomes more widely understood, said Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which joined the announcement. Negotiators from almost 200 countries are in Lima to craft an agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution and help smaller countries adapt to an already-warming planet.
“We’ve seen in asbestos and tobacco, where society began looking at companies as bad actors because of their deceptive practices,” Frumhoff told reporters in Lima. “The public began seeing them as not just producing a legal product but seeking to misinform people about the risks of their product.”
Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, has accounted for 52.3 gigatons of emissions, about 3.3 percent of all greenhouse pollution from fossil fuel producers, the Climate Accountability Institute said. That includes the entire production cycle, from drilling to refining and then burning the fuel.
Saudi Aramco accounted for 51.4 gigatons, followed by Exxon Mobil, BP Plc and Russia’s OAO Gazprom, based on a review of corporate and government emissions records from around the globe, the study found. Today’s report was a update to a study published last year in the journal Climatic Change.
“We have not seen the report and can’t comment on its findings,” Kurt Glaubitz, a Chevron spokesman, said today in an e-mail.
Chevron’s history dates back to 1879, according to its website, and the company has swept up other drillers such as Texaco Inc. over the decades.
“They’ve become a massive company,” said Richard Heede, lead author of the paper. “They operated in the Middle East before and after World War II so there’s a lot of production history that goes into their high status.”
–With assistance from Zain Shauk in Houston.