The Carbon Majors Database stores greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data on the largest company-related sources of all time. CDP’s Carbon Majors Report 2017 is the first in an ongoing series of publications aimed at using this Database – the most comprehensive available – to highlight the role that corporations can play in driving the global energy transition.
Large-scale GHG emissions data has traditionally been collected at the country-level. In fact, these emissions can be traced to a smaller group of commercial decision makers. The Carbon Majors Database was established in 2013 by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) to show how these emissions are linked to companies, or ‘Carbon Majors’. Now CDP works in collaboration with the CAI to maintain the Database and share its important data and insights with all stakeholders.
This report looks at industrial carbon dioxide and methane emissions deriving from fossil fuel producers in the past, present, and future. In 1988, human-induced climate change was officially recognized through the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since this time, the fossil fuel industry has doubled its contribution to global warming by emitting as much greenhouse gas in 28 years as in the 237 years between 1988 and the birth of the industrial revolution. Since 1988, more than half of global industrial GHGs can be traced to just 25 corporate and state producers.
In 2015, a fifth of global industrial GHG emissions was backed by publicly listed investment. The scale of emissions signals the importance and potential of investor engagement in the fossil fuel industry. Many oil and gas majors are already developing scenarios to comprehend their potential role in the future energy system. The Carbon Majors Database is also projected out to 2100 to illustrate ‘contraction and convergence’ theory at the company level. Setting science-based targets is an initial step for companies to take in navigating themselves through this global transition.
This report is aimed at investors wishing to better understand the amount of carbon associated with their fossil fuel holdings. Further, it is intended that this output will improve transparency from fossil fuel companies, particularly around product-related (Scope 3) emissions, as well as providing them with contextual information regarding their share of global emissions. The Database can also be useful to policy analysts and academics for developing further insights in this area of research.