Combating corporate climate change

Sam Wendorf, Staff Writer

Pollution is a problem. Most people recognize that the greenhouse gasses we put out into the atmosphere hurt the environment. A great number of sources can be blamed for these greenhouse gasses, but there is some debate about where they come from and how best to deal with them.

There are many harmful human-produced gasses, but the one people tend to talk about most is carbon dioxide (CO2). Since the 1870s, humans have produced approximately 2,000 billion tons of CO2, half of which are still around today. To put that into perspective, there are currently a little over 3,000 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. A third of the CO2 present in the atmosphere today was produced by humans. This is a world-altering volume. We need to do everything we can to reduce it before its impact can no longer be reversed.

The solution is a matter of hot debate among environmentalists and large corporations. The argument boils down to three basic stances: corporations should reduce their carbon footprint by changing how they operate, consumers need to alter their lifestyles to lessen their day-to-day emissions or a mix of the two needs to be put into play.

While a mix of the two would be the most beneficial, the debate between consumers and corporations is paid a great deal of attention, especially by companies that produce a lot of greenhouse gasses, like car manufacturers, power plants and mass-production factories.

While these companies would like to make it seem as though ordinary people are responsible for global climate change by pointing the finger at our overuse of cars or how much meat we consume, the objective fact is that these companies produce the vast majority of CO2 emissions. Only 100 companies currently produce over 70% of greenhouse gasses. These companies are more interested in money than in protecting the planet. Some, such as oil firms, have even gone so far as to block policies that would help fight against climate change. They do not care about the consequences of their business as long as it turns a profit.

Contrast that with the 13% of emissions that are produced in homes and shops. This includes heating, the products we use and the waste we throw away. Add the 11% produced by the agriculture industry, and you still have less than half of what those 100 companies put out into the atmosphere. 

The numbers are clear: corporations make a much bigger impact than consumers ever could. So instead of accusing the average man of ruining the world, these corporations need to focus on their own businesses. We must be outspoken and active against the insane amounts of pollution these companies produce for their own benefit. With every year, the cost of our deteriorating planet builds due to these greedy corporations. If these companies refuse to change, we will be the ones who have to pay the price.