FoE Research shows Esso’s Historical Climate Damage

Friends of the Earth is launching four reports on the world's largest oil company. One of them is ExxonMobil's historical contribution to climate change or climate footprint.

This is the first time a company's climate footprint has been calculated. It covers ExxonMobil's main greenhouse gas emissions from 1882 (from its days as Standard Oil) through to 2002. The findings could prove vital to future compensation claims against companies by victims of climate change caused by man-made pollution.

The studies found:
  • From 1882-2002 ExxonMobil's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) total an estimated 20.3 billion tonnes of carbon. This is around 5% of the world total.
  • Seven of the top 10 years of ExxonMobil's emissions have been since 1996 when the UN's IPCC second assessment report found 'a discernible human influence on global climate'
  • Around 70% of the company's emissions have been since 1967.
  • ExxonMobil's emissions contributed to 4.8 to 5.5% of total carbon dioxide concentrations above pre-industrial levels, in 2002.
  • ExxonMobil's emissions have contributed between 3.4% and 3.7% of total attributable temperature change since 1882.