It’s Companies, Not Countries That Are Contributing Most to Climate Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — If you’ve ever flown across an ocean and looked out the window from 39,000 feet, it’s easy to think about how incredibly vast this planet is, and wonder how one species among thousands could possibly change the meteorological course of something this big. Then, you think about how there is almost no place remotely close to civilization that you can’t get to in two days or less, thanks almost entirely to fossil fuels. Then you think of the hundreds, if not thousands of other airplanes in the air at this same moment, and the millions of cars and trucks on the roads every single moment as they have been for a century or more.

We’re taking this flight of fancy to prepare you for another fact that’s going to be difficult to believe. If you think the intensity of six or seven billion humans generating enough air pollution to irreversibly change the climate is a bit hard to swallow, you’ll need a glass of water to go with this one.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Carbon Majors Report, the world’s top 100 fossil fuel companies are responsible for 71% of all the emissions produced by humans on Planet Earth.

The numbers come from the Carbon Disclosure Project’s database, which began collecting data, primarily at the country level in 1988, when the UN IPCC was first created in recognition of the potential severity of the problem.

Herman Miller Empowers Mothers In Haiti

(3BLMedia/Justmeans) – Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the poorest countries in the developing world. Its per capita income of $250 is considerably less than one-tenth the Latin American average. So, when a positive and unique story comes along about empowering local mothers, you immediately want to share that story.

G7 Leaders Up the Ante on Climate Action

(3BL Media/Justmeans) When the leaders of the world’s largest economies, United States, Germany, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France, and Italy, otherwise known as the G7, met last week to discuss the global economy, climate and energy were high on the agenda, given the heightened level of concern and the major climate talks coming up later this year in Paris.

The group took a bold step, pledging to completely phase out greenhouse gas emissions by the century’s end, and to cut somewhere between 40 and 70% by 2050. Can they back it up? Not by themselves. These seven countries currently represent about a third of the world’s GHG emissions. That means they can have a significant impact, but they can’t do it without help, especially from rapidly growing economies like China (now the #1 emitter), India (#4) and Russia (#5). That will not be easy, considering that even among those in the G7, consensus did not come easily. Both Canada and Japan pushed back before finally agreeing to sign on to the statement that said, “We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050 and invite all countries to join us in this endeavor. To this end we also commit to develop long term national low-carbon strategies.”

However, if the goal is to limit global warming to 2 degrees or less, the goal of eliminating emissions by the end of the century is not enough. Even the 40 to 70% cuts mentioned by 2050 will fall short, even at the higher end, according to some sources. The carbon calculus shows that we have used up about two-thirds of the total emissions limit of around 3,200 gigatonnes that must be maintained if we hope to keep the climate from spinning out of control. At the current rate of emissions, we will run through that in the next 27 years. That’s a frightening thought when you consider that, at this point, the rate is still going up (albeit more slowly than it was a few years ago). That trend has to be dramatically reversed if the goal is to be met. Keep in mind that most greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a hundred years or more, so even when we stop emitting, it will take a while for the concentration to begin falling. It also means that when we stop, we need to stop for good, or at least the next hundred years. Given the way that these emissions accumulate in the system, the sooner we act, the better.

Exclusive Q&A with Christine Bader, Corporate Idealist

(Justmeans/3BL Media) - For nearly a decade, Christine Bader worked at BP (NYSE:BP), managing the company's social impacts in the developing world.

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