Energy sector causing increase in carbon emissions

energyENERGY companies are the main contributors to global warming via carbon emissions, a new report has claimed. The Fossil Free Indexes’ The Carbon Underground 200 report found that as energy reserves grew, so too did potential emissions from public fossil fuel companies.

The report listed the top 100 public coal companies and the top 100 public oil and gas companies, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves. The top five oil and gas companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, PetroChina, ExxonMobil and Lukoil – contributed 53 per cent of the total carbon emissions potential.

The companies with the biggest increase in emissions were Rosneft, BHP Billiton, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Novatek and Chevron. “Despite the risks posed by global warming and a consensus on the part of most governments that actions should be taken to limit the planet’s temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, total fossil fuel reserves globally have continued to grow with ongoing exploration and development,” the report stated.

The International Energy Agency estimated the energy sector was the largest contributor to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for two-thirds of total emissions.

The Carbon Underground Oil and Gas 100 list included major companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Apache, INPEX, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search. The results were determined by covering 98 per cent of proven gas reserves and 97 per cent of proven oil reserves. In Australia total coal, gas and oil reserve emissions potential came to 34.3 gross tonnage of carbon dioxide. Worldwide that number reached 546Gt. “Adjusted for their share of the emissions embedded in global reserves, the carbon content of reserves held by The Carbon Underground 200 exceed the carbon budget by over 400 per cent,” the report stated.

The report estimated about a 66 per cent chance of keeping temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius. “The panel (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warned that the window for action is closing and by 2030 maintaining temperature change below 2 degrees Celsius will be substantially more difficult,” the report stated.