Fossil Fool Bulletin • 5 November 2019
A new report from the University of NSW finds that Australia is the world’s 16th biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting country. But within Australia’s borders there is a larger contributor to climate change: the companies that extract coal, gas and oil and sell them worldwide. These huge companies are the carbon majors.
The Australia’s Carbon Majors report lists Australia’s top 10 carbon emitters:
BHP Billiton, Glencore, Yancoal, Peabody, Anglo American and Whitehaven (coal miners) and Chevron, Woodside, ExxonMobil and Santos (oil and gas miners) produce more GHG emissions than Canada. If they were a country, they would sit eighth in the world on the list of highest emitters.
The report’s lead author, Jeremy Moss from the UNSW Practical Justice Initiative and a professor of political philosophy, said there was a clear case that big emitting companies, which the report calls “carbon majors”, should be held responsible for the consequences of their products.
• In 2018 emissions produced from the coal extracted by Australia’s top six coal producers (551Mt CO2-e), were greater than the whole of Australia’s projected domestic emissions (534Mt CO2-e) for 2018.
• The ten largest Australian carbon majors produced the equivalent of 669.71 Mt CO2-e in 2018, which is around 75% of the emissions from global air traffic or around 28 million flights (895Mt CO2-e 38 million flights).
• Together, the top ten Australian carbon majors produce more GHG emissions than Canada. If they were a country, they would sit eighth in the world on the list of highest emitters.
• In the last 15 years the emissions from BHP’s Australian coal, oil and gas have produced the equivalent of 2,361Mt CO2-e in emissions and just one year the indirect GHG emissions by their global operations produced 596Mt CO2-e (BHP 2019), more than the projected emissions of 25 million Australians for the same period.
• The Australian carbon majors are complicit in climate harms and ought to bear some of the liabilities for climate harms.
1. No sales of mine assets as going concerns
• Fossil fuel mines to be retired, not on sold to other companies
2. Carbon major sites to be restored
• Funds to be set aside for rehabilitation
• Rehabilitation costs to take precedence over shareholder returns
• Profit sharing ought to occur from ‘clean’ parts of the business
3. Compensation for contribution to past harms
• Compensatory mechanisms must address past emissions at least since 1990
• Affected workers and communities to be assisted
4. Compensation should not only be domestic
• Compensation should address the needs of those harmed globally
5. No new mines
• No new exploration
6. Political influence
• Carbon majors should cease political lobbying
• Carbon majors should not fund third party campaigns in favour of fossil fuels
• Carbon majors should phase out their fossil fuel operations in line with IPCC evidence
• Download the report here: