There are so many articles out there that talk about global warming and how we are destroying the environment through activities such as burning fossil fuels for transportation, methane emissions from animal production, deforestation, and the overuse of chemical fertilizers on croplands.
Yet, there are even those who believe that global warming is a hoax!
However, there is overwhelming evidence that we are causing serious damage to the environment. While there are many things you can do on a personal level to combat climate change, it is readily apparent that large corporations are disproportionately responsible for the damage being done to our planet!
According to an article from The Guardian, only 90 companies worldwide produce over 2/3 of the planet’s entire man-made greenhouse gas emissions – that is 914 gigatonnes between 1751 to 2010!
So, who are these environmental offenders? We have a list of five of the worst below:
Topping our list is California-based energy corporation Chevron. Chevron has contributed 3.52 percent to global warming emissions. After merging with Texaco in 2001, Chevron dumped millions of gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador, spreading toxins throughout the Amazonian rivers and unlined pits. The company was fined $9.5 million — a small price to pay in comparison to the enormous cost to the environment.
Their rap sheet doesn’t begin and end just there. Chevron was fined two million dollars by Angola in 2002 (the first country in Africa to fine a major multinational corporation within its borders) for oil spills, and by the U.S. for violating the Clean Air Act in 2003, for which the company was required to spend approximately $275 million to install and implement innovative control technologies to reduce emissions at its refineries. The company was also responsible for a crude oil spill off the cost of Rio de Janeiro in 2011 for which it was fined $17.3 million by the Brazilian government and for a Refinery in Richmond for which they were fined $2 million after more than 15,000 people sought medical treatment for respiratory problems.
Richard Heede’s paper ranks this oil and gas company as the second greatest contributor to CO2 and CH4 emissions at 3.22 percent of the global percentage. The company is responsible for multiple oil spills throughout the world with the biggest being the Exxon Valdez oil spill (approximately 11 million U.S. gallons) – considered by many to be the number one most damaging oil spill to the environment. It was responsible for over 250,000 animal deaths and billions of salmon and herring egg deaths. Floating oil can sadly still be seen around the coastal areas of this region. The company’s horrific list of other spills are:
- Brooklyn oil spill, which was neglected for nearly 50 years– fined $25 million
- Baton Rouge Refinery pipeline oil spill – fined $2.4 million
- Yellowstone River oil spill – fined $1.7 million
- Mayflower oil spill – fined $2.7 million
Shockingly, the company was also known to fund multiple organizations denying anthropogenic global warming, possibly to defend its position with its oil spills. In 2014, the company released a report acknowledging climate change risk for the first time.
3. Saudi Aramco
While this company is working to reduce its emissions and footprint on the environment, they are still ranked very high on the list of companies releasing emissions at number three in global percent of emissions at 3.17 percent.
4. British Petroleum (BP)
This oil and gas company ranks number four in emissions at 2.47 percent. For their U.S. operations, the company is ranked as having one of the worst safety records of any oil company due to their extensive number of spills and unconcerned impact on the environment. Can we get a round of boos, please? (GOOD) Their pathetic record is as follows:
- Illegal disposal of hazardous waste on Alaska’s north slope from 1993 – 1995 – fined $22 million
- Air quality rule violations at Carson, California refinery in 2003 – fined $25 million
- Refinery safety problems in Texas (refinery explosion killed 15 people) and Ohio in 2006 – fined $2.4 million in Ohio and $373 million for Texas explosion, and later fined an additional $87 million for failing to correct safety hazards documented in the explosion.
- Prudhoe Bay oil leak in 2006 of 200,000 gallons of crude oil – fined $25 million
- Water contamination due to gasoline additive in 2008 – fined $422 million along with Chevron Corp.
- Caspian Sea gas leak and blowout in 2008 – extent of the leak was kept secret by the company
- Texas City Chemical Leak in 2010, malfunctioning equipment leaked 530,000 pounds of chemicals in to the air in Texas City – lack of substantial evidence cleared BP of wrong-doing.
- Deepwater Horizon oil spill and blowout killed 11 people and became the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry at 210 million gallons of oil leaked – as of this year the case is still unresolved.
Rounding up the top five is Gazprom – the world’s largest extractor of natural gas with 2.22 percent in global emissions.
Gazprom continued to drill illegally in the Arctic even after its response plan for the Prirazlomnaya oil platform expired, according to Greenpeace. Pricefoil also reported that Greenpeace and WWF unveiled a report written by an independent Russian think-tank – the Informatika Riska Center on assessing the risks of an oil spill in the Pechora Sea.
Continuing the Top 10 are Royal Dutch/Shell, Netherlands at 2.12 percent, National Iranian Oil Company at 2.01 percent, Pemex, Mexico at 1.38 percent, ConocoPhillips, USA and Petroleous de Venezuela at 1.11 percent.
Image source: DVIDSHUB/Flickr
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!