Climate study shows major emitters of greenhouse gas have increased, about time private corps rise to action

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New Delhi: A new study compiled by world-renowned researchers from the Carbon Majors Database has come out with some shocking revelations. It shows how a small handful of just 57 oil, gas, coal and cement producers are directly linked to 80 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since the 2016 Paris climate agreement.

While world governments had pledged in Paris to cut down emissions of greenhouse gases, the study points out how the number of major emitters has only increased since then. Of the major emitters in the studies database, reportedly 65 per cent are state entities and 55 per cent are privately owned.

Balancing act, moving beyond rhetoric

The study by the Carbon Majors Database proves what is often thought but seldom voiced in major climate conferences. While many agree the pace of progress in the fight against climate change is slow, there is seldom consensus on where to lay the blame. This becomes a major problem which till now begets a clear solution.

Climate change, the increase in average global temperatures, has been mainly caused by excessive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Such events have also occurred before in the Earth’s history but then it was because of carbon emissions from natural sources like volcanoes. Now it is human-induced and the rate has only increased since the Industrial Revolution.

A major contributor of early carbon emissions have historically been the Western countries, initially Britain at the start of the Industrial Revolution, then the rest of Europe and later America.

To aid growing industry around the world, fossil fuel was burned in excess. While scientists quickly found out about the adverse effects this had on the environment and how it was leading to increase in global temperatures, this was ignored at the expense of industrial development and progress. It is only in recent decades that governments around the world have started to act and take measures to constraint carbon emissions.

Many summits, conferences and pledges are taken in this regard. With time many steps have also been taken on-ground, from promoting renewable sources of energy to introducing carbon credits, much has been implemented. This while commendable has unfortunately not mattered much.

This, as the study also points out, cannot do much as a major part of carbon emissions come from large industries. Both government and private corporations need energy to function and our dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable sources of energy are such that, despite pledges, it has been difficult to minimise carbon emissions.

This has now been the ever-present conundrum in the fight against climate change. Government will sometimes go against private interests and lobbying from the oil industry is a major part of it. Other times, it is the government itself which is forced due to immediate needs to continue using non-renewables.

The problem is further compounded by increasing carbon footprints of the common public and celebrities. While the issue is extremely complicated and a myriad of variables exist to further complicate it, it seems the only way going forward is the whole society to come together in the fight against climate change.

The scale and immediacy of the problem is such that it is only through immediate, collective action that any progress can be done. It is about time segmenting responsibility and passing around blame should be stopped if any progress is to be expected.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone. The opinions and facts in this article do not represent the stand of News9.)

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