Who Are the 20 Worst Global Warming Polluters of All Time?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Should it be any surprise that Chevron (CVX) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) and BP (BP) are three of the four top investor-owned companies responsible for greenhouse gas emissions?

A 2013 study published by the journal Climatic Change studied historic emissions and compiled a list of leading investor- and state-owned producers of oil, natural gas, coal and cement over a 156-year-period through 2010. Of that total, more than half of the emissions were produced since 1986.

"The carbon major entities possess fossil fuel reserves that will, if produced and emitted, intensify anthropogenic climate change," the study added.

In recent years, many nations have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "However, current climate change is primarily driven by historic emissions and the parties responsible for the dominant sources of historic emissions are not necessarily the same as those responsible for the dominant share of current emissions," the study cautioned.

The report, published in November 2013, uses data through 2010. When reached by TheStreet, study author Richard Heede said he was in the process of updating his data set through 2013, but expected to find little change.

"I would expect a slight variation but not much," Heede said. "The ranking in the top 20 will be relatively stable."

Here are the top 20 entities that made the list. (Note: TheStreet attempted to contact all 20 on the list. Only a few responded by press time.)

20. Anglo American

United Kingdom

From its founding early in the 20th Century to 2010, Anglo American emitted 7.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The U.K. mining company accounted for 0.50% of total global emissions for the period studied, between 1751 and 2010, the study found. In 2010, Anglo American emitted 242 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The company was founded in 1917 by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1999, Anglo American merged with Minorco of Luxembourg to form Anglo American plc.

19. BHP Billiton

Australia

From its founding in 1851 to 2010, BHP Billiton (BHP) emitted 7.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The Australian company accounted for 0.52% of total global emissions between 1751 and 2010, the study found. In 2010, BHP-Billiton emitted 320 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The company merged with BHP in June 2001 becoming one of the world's largest diversified resources company.

18. Consol Energy

United States

Over the period 1864 to 2010, Consol Energy (CNX) emitted 9.09 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The Pittsburgh-based company accounted for 0.63% of total global emissions between 1751 and 2010, the study found. In 2010, Consol Energy emitted 160 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The company was founded in 1864 when "several western Maryland coal operators decided to 'consolidate' their holdings to form the Consolidation Coal Company but operation of the new company was delayed due to the Civil War," according to the company's Web site. "Consolidation Coal Company officially began in 1864; the year most historians believe was the turning point of the Civil War which ended with General Lee's surrender in 1865."

17. Sonatrach

Algeria

Sonatrach emitted 9.26 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the report, and accounted for 0.64% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Sonatrach was founded in 1963. In 2010, Sonatrach emitted 386 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

16. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi NOC emitted 9.67 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the report, and accounted for 0.67% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company was founded in 1971. In 2010, it emitted 387 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

15. Kuwait Petroleum Corp.

Kuwait

Kuwait Petroleum emitted 10.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since its founding in 1980 until 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 0.73% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, it emitted 323 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

14. PetroChina

China

PetroChina (PTR) emitted 10.56 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 0.73% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. PetroChina, one of the largest oil companies in the world, was formed in 1999. In 2010, it emitted 614 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

13. Total

France

Total (TOT) emitted 11.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 0.82% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Total's predecessor was founded in 1924. In 2010, Total emitted 398 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

12. Peabody Energy

United States

Peabody Energy (BTU) emitted 12.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent until 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 0.86% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Peabody Energy was founded in 1883. In 2010, the St. Louis-based coal company emitted 519 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

 

11. Coal India

India

Coal India emitted 15.49 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 1.07% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Coal India was formed in 1975. In 2010, Coal India emitted 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

10. Petroleos de Venezuela

Venezuela

Petroleos de Venezuela, the state-owned oil and gas company, emitted 16.15 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from its founding in 1975 to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 1.11% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, Petroleos de Venezuela emitted 485 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

9. ConocoPhillips

United States

ConocoPhillips (COP) emitted 16.86 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent between its origins in 1875 and 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 1.16% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, ConocoPhillips emitted 359 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

A ConocoPhillips spokesperson, in an email to TheStreet, pointed to the company's sustainable development report and other documents on its Web site and said, "We take these issues seriously and are taking actions that are appropriate for our current business."

8. Pemex

Mexico

Pemex emitted 20 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent during up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 1.38% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, was formed in 1938. In 2010, Pemex emitted 602 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

7. National Iranian Oil Company

Iran

National Iranian Oil Company emitted 29.08 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 2.01% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, the 63-year-old oil entity emitted 867 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

6. Royal Dutch/Shell

Netherlands

Royal Dutch/Shell (RDS.A) emitted 30.75 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over 156 years, according to the report, and accounted for 2.12% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Royal Dutch/Shell can trace its roots back to 1833. In 2010, the company emitted 478 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

"The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting the rising demand for global energy is a critical challenge," the company said in a statement emailed on Monday to TheStreet. "One of the best tools governments have to cut greenhouse gas emissions is to implement carbon pricing. A well-implemented carbon pricing system would help to promote low-carbon technologies including CCS (carbon capture and storage), encourage greater energy efficiency and accelerate the shift to cleaner fossil fuels like natural gas."

5. Gazprom

Russian Federation

Gazprom emitted 32.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from its founding in 1989 to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 2.22% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, the government-owned entity emitted 1,371 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

4. BP

United Kingdom

BP emitted 35.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent dfrom its founding in 1908 until 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 2.47% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. In 2010, the entity emitted 554 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

A spokesperson from BP declined to comment to TheStreet on Monday.

3. Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco emitted 46.03 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 3.17% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. BP can trace its roots back to 1934. In 2010, the entity emitted 1,550 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

2. Exxon Mobil

United States

Exxon Mobil emitted 46.67 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 3.22% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Exxon Mobil can trace its roots back to 1889. In 2010, the entity emitted 655 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

Exxon Mobil declined to comment on the Climatic Change report. However, the company did respond generally to the issue of climate change.

"Addressing climate change, providing economic opportunity and lifting billions out of poverty are complex and interrelated issues requiring complex solutions," the company said in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "We have the same concerns as people everywhere -- and that is how to provide the world with the energy it needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Exxon Mobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research that leads to technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options."

1. Chevron

United States

Chevron emitted 51.09 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent up to 2010, according to the report, and accounted for 3.52% of global emissions between 1751 and 2010. Chevron can trace its roots back to 1879. In 2010, the entity emitted 423 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the study found.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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