Saudi oil giant Aramco a leading cause of climate change

Saudi oil giant Aramco a leading cause of climate change
Six out of the 20 companies with the most emissions are in fact owned by Middle Eastern states, showing the Arab world is greatly contributing to our planet's death.
3 min read
09 October, 2019
The six Middle Eastern oil companies produce a third of carbon emissions calculated. [Getty]

Saudi state energy giant Aramco is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in the world, according to a new report published by The Guardian on Wednesday, which revealed the top 20 oil companies contributing to climate change.

Six out of the 20 oil producers are owned by countries in the Middle East, and are responsible for more than a third of the total carbon emissions calculated from the companies surveyed. 

State owned company, Saudi Aramco, is at the top of the list, with an output of 59.26 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent since 1965. 

The 20 companies produced a total of 480 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, contributing 35 percent of the world’s total life-threatening greenhouse gases before 2018. 

Leading climate scientist, Michael Mann, said the findings were especially important ahead of the climate talks to take place in December this year.

"The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price – in the form of a degraded planet – so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits," he told The Guardian.

"It is a great moral failing of our political system that we have allowed this to happen."

The National Iranian Oil Company takes the 5th place out of the 20 oil producing contenders, with 35.66bn tonnes.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company follows suit by ranking at 14th place with 13.84bn tonnes.

The rest of the companies owned by the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, and Algeria also contribute vast emissions, putting them in the league table, joining companies from Brazil, South Africa, and the US. 

The Guardian collaborated with NGOs, and leading scientists in the field to investigate coal, oil, gas companies that contribute to the widespread destruction of our environment. 

The report delivers data recorded since 1965, when the impact of fossil fuels was finally acknowledged by politicians and industry leaders. 

The study also profiled each company, exposing individual impacts from each billion-dollar firms. 

Saudi Aramco, based in Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia, boasted a revenue of $355.9 billion in 2018, by producing greenhouse gases equivalent to a staggering 13.6m barrels of oil a day. 

Experts predicted the Saudi company will increase its production by 7.2 percent between 2018 and 2030, due to future plans of expanding its oil fields in the east.

Amin Nasser, the chief executive of the company, admitted at the World Economic Forum this year that the oil industry is increasingly facing risks due to changing perspective of the oil industry.

"Because it [the crisis] threatens our industry's very relevance, it puts our ability to supply ample, reliable and affordable energy to billions around the world at risk, which in turn risks their energy security," he said.

The Guardian’s research comes after a warning from the United Nations that solutions must be sought out within the next 12 years to avoid the irreversible consequences of rising global temperatures.

The activist climate group, Extinction Rebellion, has staged protests in 60 cities worldwide this month where hundreds of protestors were arrested for civil disobedience and raising awareness on the issue.