For a safe climate, we need to tear up the corporate death warrant

September 3, 2020

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has argued that one clear reason why we need system change if the world is going to avert catastrophic climate change is that fossil fuel corporations have already planned production to 2030 that will exceed by 120% the carbon budget required to have a chance at keeping climate change to 1.5° Celsius.

Capitalists have already signed a climate death warrant for life on our planet.

The huge gap between the plans of the large fossil fuel corporations and the wishes of ordinary folk grows by the day.

Last October, it was reported that just 20 corporations were responsible for more than one-third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, it was calculated on the basis of Clean Energy Regulator (CER) data that just 65 corporations account for two-thirds of emissions in Australia.

Drilling down further into the CER data reveals that these companies produced a combined 352.7 million tonnes of emissions per annum, but just 10 corporations account for 169.5 million tonnes or 40% of Australia’s emissions.

At the top of this dirty corporate 10 is AGL Energy which produces 43.2 million tonnes. The other nine in order of their emissions are: Energy Australia, Stanwell, Origin Energy, CS Energy, Chevron, Ozgen Holdings, Pioneer Sail Holdings, Woodside Petroleum and NRG Victoria.

These totals are just for domestic emissions: exported emissions are not included in this calculation. If they were, the total emission amount would triple and the proportionate contributions of the dirty corporations would shift.

If industry projections for future fossil fuel exports are fulfilled, this country could be contributing 17% of global greenhouse pollution by 2030!

Contrast this with the fact that 96% of the country want our primary source of energy to come from renewables. The fact is that Australian households have the highest take up of rooftop solar in the world. Meanwhile, energy companies are trying to slow down this take up.

Last year, just 24% of Australia’s total energy came from renewables, and federal and state governments — both Labor and Coalition — are promoting new coal and gas mines.

The fossil fuel corporations pretty much run this country under the current system and, as this year’s fire season advances, it will become even clearer that this is something this dry continent cannot afford.

Green Left might appear to be going against the political stream today — and many readers appreciate us for this. But necessity can force change very quickly, as the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates. What seems to be impossible today will become an urgent necessity before long.

If you agree with us, become a Green Left supporter and make a donation to our Fighting Fund.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.