It’s common to look at which countries produce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but it can be more interesting to look at why rather than where. This chart by Our World in Data using World Resources Institute data shows how much comes from corporate activities, with nearly a quarter from industrial energy use alone.
For Computer Weekly, I have looked at how software can help cut emissions by reducing energy use and equipment failures in non-residential buildings – which generate greenhouse gases equivalent to those from aviation, shipping and cement-making combined – chemical and petrochemical industries and motor engine manufacturing. By rethinking processes and adopting clever technologies, companies can make deep cuts in emissions while continuing to do business effectively.
China’s biggest companies produce emissions equivalent to those from entire countries, with Huaneng Power’s annual 317 million tonnes of carbon dioxide similar to the UK’s according to this data-focused article from Bloomberg. While these are extreme cases, companies often have much more ability than individuals to cut emissions quickly and deeply. It is cheering to see many setting net zero emission target dates of around 2030, although how they do this will need watching.
Companies are also best-placed to develop low-emission products and services, albeit with the motivation of consumer and regulatory pressure. While individuals have some impact on climate change and governments are ultimately responsible, corporate actions – or lack of them – look worth more attention.
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