I’m heated

Corporations are letting us take the fall for climate change, but they are the ones at fault


I’m disgusted by the thought of big corporations letting us  — the little people — take the blame for global warming. How can I, just one person, be ruining the environment more than a giant corporation?

I can’t.

According to The Carbon Majors Database, just 100 companies make up 52 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This means 100 top corporations are polluting more than the rest of the world combined — this includes civilians, other companies and everyone in between.

On average, the U.S. is responsible for a whopping 5.9 billion tons of carbon emissions each year, second only to China’s 6 billion tons. The average person in the U.S. causes 19.8 tons of carbon emissions per year, according to The Guardian. Compare this to Apple — just one company — which had 34.2 million tons of carbon emissions in 2014.

But yes, global warming is my fault.

Every year, the top 3,000 companies cause over $2 trillion in damages to the planet, according to The Guardian. About half of this is from greenhouse gas emissions, while the rest is due to pollution.

“The actual environmental cost of firms’ activities is likely to be even higher, because the ($2.2 trillion) does not include damage caused by social impacts such as large-scale migration of people and other long-term effects of climate change,” Greenbiz wrote about the report.

Not all corporations want to watch the world (literally) burn, however.

In 2017, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord sparked the “We Are Still In” movement. “We Are Still In” comprises businesses, cities, colleges and churches from around the U.S. that have taken on the “commitment to tackling climate change, ensuring a clean energy future, and upholding the Paris Agreement,” according to their website.

Among these businesses are Walmart, L’Oreal, Google and Mars. This basically means the companies aim to do more to help the environment. I wouldn’t label any of these corporations “eco-friendly” by any means, but they’re supposedly putting in a solid effort to reducing their impacts.

I read blogs and follow Instagram accounts dedicated to telling people how to save the environment and cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions. I even write a biweekly column about it. But what about the corporations?

Yeah, we can stop using straws and walk to work every so often — and that’s going to change a lot for the better.

However, if corporations could stop polluting the air day after day in their factories across the world, that would also be helpful.

How about this: Keep avoiding plastic, use your reusable shopping bags, but start refusing to buy from companies who aren’t at least trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

There’s 8 billion of us on this planet, and we have to work together to reduce the environmental impacts of climate change. But when a disproportionate amount of that impact is due to corporations, maybe they should be the ones putting in a little more effort.