The Greenhouse 100

Yves here. I find it stunning that the US government ranks as low as number 6 on this list, given its scale of operations. Ang get a load of where Berkshire Hathaway sits.

I’m sure this list will attract criticism. Any first effort at a project this ambitious is bound to involve calibrating among less than ideal data sources and filling gaps. Nevertheless, one of the values of lists like this is to force people to come up with better data and methodologies.

Originally published at Triple Crisis

Regular Triple Crisis contributor James K. Boyce and his colleague Michael Ash, both professors of economics at the University of Massachusetts and researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), released the Greenhouse 100 index late last month. The list, including the 100 U.S. companies responsible for the largest total greenhouse gas emissions based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, shows a stunning concentration of emissions at the very top. “The top ten companies emit 12.5 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, both stationary and mobile,” reports the press release describing the findings. “The Greenhouse 100 together account for 34 percent of emissions nationwide.” The full text of the press release follows, and the full list of the Greenhouse 100 can be found after the jump. In addition, a Real News Network interview, in which Michael Ash discusses the report, is available here. —Eds.

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today released a new edition of the Greenhouse 100 index, ranking U.S. industrial polluters on the basis of their emissions of the gases responsible for global climate change.

Topping the list are three electrical power companies: Duke Energy, American Electric Power, and Southern Company. Each of the top three released over 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2014. Together, these three alone are responsible for more than five percent of greenhouse gas emissions from all sources combined in the United States – as much as the average annual emissions of about 75 million automobiles.

Other companies in the top ten are NRG Energy Inc., Berkshire Hathaway, Dynegy, Xcel Energy, FirstEnergy, and PPL Corporation. The U.S. government ranks sixth on the Greenhouse 100 list, weighing in at almost 75 million metric tons – equivalent to more than 15 million cars. US Steel, ranked number 21, is the top non-energy corporation on the list.

The top ten companies emit 12.5 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, both stationary and mobile. The Greenhouse 100 together account for 34 percent of emissions nationwide.

The data for the Greenhouse 100 rankings come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which reports emissions from large facilities in the United States for the year 2014. PERI researchers matched the individual facilities to their owners to produce the Greenhouse 100 rankings.

Users of the web-based Greenhouse 100 can see the breakdown of emissions for individual companies by facility. PERI researchers also calculated the percentages of low-income and minority populations living within 10 miles of each facility. These provide an indication of the extent to which emissions of the toxic co-pollutants – such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide – that are produced along with greenhouse gases disproportionately impact these groups.

“The Greenhouse 100 index informs communities, consumers, and investors which large companies release the most climate pollutants into our air,” said Professor James K. Boyce, director of PERI’s Development, Peacebuilding and the Environment program. “People have a right to know about corporate responsibility for global climate change. Legislators need to understand the effects of corporate behavior on their constituents.”

The Greenhouse 100 accompanies PERI’s well-known “Toxic 100” rankings of corporate air and water polluters.

“In making this information available, we are building on the achievements of the right-to-know movement,” explains Professor Michael Ash, co-director of PERI’s Corporate Toxics Information Project. “Our goal is to engender public participation in environmental decision-making, and to help residents translate the right to know into the right to clean air, clean water, and a livable planet.”

Rank

Parent corporation or entity

2014 Emissions
(CO2 equivalent
metric tons)

Percentage of total U.S.
greenhouse gas emissions
from all sources *

Industrial Sectors

1

Duke Energy

122,474,576

1.84%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Waste

2

American Electric Power

121,098,420

1.81%

Power Plants, Other

3

Southern Co.

108,671,229

1.63%

Power Plants, Other

4

NRG Energy Inc.

100,224,829

1.50%

Power Plants, Other

5

Berkshire Hathaway

83,939,342

1.26%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other, Minerals, Chemicals

6

U.S. Government

74,687,012

1.12%

Power Plants, Other, Waste, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals

7

Dynegy

61,183,427

0.92%

Power Plants

8

Xcel Energy

56,506,228

0.85%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

9

FirstEnergy

56,050,031

0.84%

Power Plants, Other

10

PPL Corp.

52,174,283

0.78%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

11

Energy Future Holdings

51,929,011

0.78%

Power Plants

12

Calpine Corp.

41,692,267

0.62%

Power Plants

13

NextEra Energy, Inc.

40,023,063

0.60%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

14

ExxonMobil

38,141,796

0.57%

Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Power Plants, Chemicals, Other

15

DTE Energy

35,491,147

0.53%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other, Metals

16

Dominion Resources Inc.

35,205,416

0.53%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

17

Entergy

33,413,928

0.50%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

18

AES Corp.

30,758,320

0.46%

Power Plants, Other

19

Ameren

30,564,382

0.46%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

20

WEC Energy Group

29,539,057

0.44%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

21

United States Steel Corp.

28,059,727

0.42%

Metals, Waste, Other

22

Koch Industries

28,048,878

0.42%

Chemicals, Pulp and Paper, Refineries, Power Plants, Waste, Other, Minerals, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

23

Phillips 66 Co.

27,557,802

0.41%

Refineries, Chemicals, Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Waste

24

ArcelorMittal

26,373,195

0.40%

Metals, Other, Minerals

25

Great Plains Energy

24,831,317

0.37%

Power Plants, Other

26

Valero Energy

23,565,429

0.35%

Refineries, Chemicals, Other

27

Royal Dutch Shell

22,701,700

0.34%

Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Other

28

Talen Energy

22,379,059

0.34%

Power Plants

29

BP

21,229,033

0.32%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Refineries, Power Plants, Chemicals, Other

30

CMS Energy Corp.

20,619,534

0.31%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

31

Scherer Inc

20,482,460

0.31%

Power Plants

32

Chevron Corp.

20,413,271

0.31%

Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Power Plants, Waste, Other

33

OGE Energy

18,857,062

0.28%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

34

Westar Energy

18,465,953

0.28%

Power Plants, Other

35

Santee Cooper

18,425,827

0.28%

Power Plants, Other

36

Pinnacle West Capital

18,006,614

0.27%

Power Plants, Other

37

CPS Energy

17,671,492

0.26%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

38

Engie Energy International

17,529,508

0.26%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

39

Navajo Generating Station (single power plant)

17,248,449

0.26%

Power Plants

40

Marathon Petroleum Corp.

17,210,436

0.26%

Refineries, Power Plants, Other

41

Associated Electric Cooperative Inc

16,406,405

0.25%

Power Plants, Other

42

NiSource

16,192,919

0.24%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

43

Basin Electric Power Cooperative

15,582,999

0.23%

Power Plants, Chemicals

44

Dow Chemical Co.

15,408,012

0.23%

Chemicals, Power Plants, Waste, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

45

TECO Energy

15,323,086

0.23%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

46

Waste Management

14,922,927

0.22%

Waste, Power Plants

47

CF Industries

14,658,858

0.22%

Chemicals

48

LafargeHolcim

14,379,206

0.22%

Minerals

49

Air Products & Chemicals

13,396,204

0.20%

Chemicals, Power Plants

50

Scana

12,886,620

0.19%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

51

Archer Daniels Midland

12,742,886

0.19%

Other, Pulp and Paper, Waste

52

JEA

12,691,041

0.19%

Power Plants, Other

53

Tesoro Corp.

12,156,680

0.18%

Refineries, Chemicals, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

54

Omaha Public Power District

12,048,895

0.18%

Power Plants, Other

55

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association

11,662,809

0.17%

Power Plants, Other

56

Ares Management

11,576,658

0.17%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

57

Alliant Energy

11,483,819

0.17%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

58

Republic Services Inc.

11,377,016

0.17%

Waste

59

Intermountain Power Agency

11,367,470

0.17%

Power Plants, Other

60

Ohio Valley Electric Corp.

11,321,687

0.17%

Power Plants, Other

61

San Juan (single power plant)

11,286,719

0.17%

Power Plants

62

Laramie River (single power plant)

11,039,099

0.17%

Power Plants

63

Great River Energy

11,008,066

0.16%

Power Plants, Other, Waste

64

EFS-N LLC (single power plant)

10,865,781

0.16%

Power Plants

65

Lower Colorado River Authority

10,685,825

0.16%

Power Plants, Other

66

Fortis

10,669,132

0.16%

Power Plants, Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

67

Pentair Ltd.

10,548,203

0.16%

Power Plants

68

Alcoa Inc.

10,529,625

0.16%

Power Plants, Metals, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other, Waste

69

Independence (single power plant)

10,415,920

0.16%

Power Plants

70

J.M Stuart Station (single power plant)

10,411,867

0.16%

Power Plants

71

LS Power

10,344,585

0.16%

Power Plants

72

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)

10,206,360

0.15%

Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other

73

Nebraska Public Power District

9,943,085

0.15%

Power Plants, Other

74

Buckeye Power Co

9,895,266

0.15%

Power Plants

75

Conemaugh (single power plant)

9,892,928

0.15%

Power Plants

76

Cleco

9,891,839

0.15%

Power Plants, Other

77

Allete

9,745,979

0.15%

Power Plants, Other

78

ConocoPhillips

9,735,497

0.15%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Refineries

79

Williams Cos.

9,606,616

0.14%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Power Plants, Chemicals

80

Peabody Energy Corp.

9,440,596

0.14%

Power Plants, Other

81

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority

9,387,797

0.14%

Power Plants, Other

82

East Kentucky Power Cooperative

9,309,922

0.14%

Power Plants, Other

83

AK Steel

9,277,356

0.14%

Metals

84

Occidental Petroleum Co.

9,252,320

0.14%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Power Plants, Other

85

Salt River Project

9,187,517

0.14%

Power Plants, Other, Waste

86

Energy Transfer Equity

8,975,727

0.13%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Refineries, Other, Power Plants

87

PBF Energy

8,963,557

0.13%

Refineries, Chemicals, Power Plants

88

Tenaska

8,904,825

0.13%

Power Plants

89

Cemex

8,870,514

0.13%

Minerals

90

Consol Energy Inc.

8,850,247

0.13%

Other, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

91

Chemours

8,451,361

0.13%

Chemicals, Waste, Other

92

PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.)

8,436,850

0.13%

Refineries, Chemicals

93

Ohio Valley Resources Inc.

8,223,557

0.12%

Other

94

Seminole Electric Cooperative

8,215,430

0.12%

Power Plants

95

Big Rivers Electric Corp

8,068,939

0.12%

Power Plants

96

LyondellBasell Industries

7,720,397

0.12%

Chemicals, Refineries, Other

97

Eastman Chemical Co.

7,681,482

0.12%

Chemicals, Power Plants, Waste, Other

98

TransAlta

7,562,226

0.11%

Power Plants

99

SK Capital Partners

7,536,554

0.11%

Chemicals, Other, Waste

100

Enterprise Products Partners

7,469,453

0.11%

Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals

* Percentages are the parent corporation or entity’s percentage of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, including electric power, transportation, industrial, commercial, residential, and agricultural emissions, the total of which is 6,673 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents according to the April 2015 U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. Note that this total is for 2013 while Greenhouse 100 parent and facility emissions are for 2014.

The links from each parent name lead to an application that gives detailed facility and sector information about the company. You can also search for companies not on the Greenhouse 100. For more information on the data, see the technical notes.

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17 comments

  1. Paper Mac

    ” Any first effort at a project this ambitious is bound to involve calibrating among less than ideal data sources and filling gaps.”

    There was only one data source and no gaps were filled, they just summed the EPA figures for facilities operated by particular firms. The reason the USG is #6 is because a significant chunk of its emissions (eg US military) don’t come from fixed installations reporting to the EPA.

    1. James Levy

      Trouble is, I know for a fact that government facilities like Area 51 are exempt from EPA regulations, so what any number of secret and semi-secret government facilities are pumping out is anyone’s guess.

    2. craazyboy

      Right. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that tailpipe emissions from vehicles is not in the summation for the petroleum industry. This of course makes power plants look like the big culprit. When looking at EPA/DOE CO2 data summed by energy source, petroleum is higher than electric. That’s not too hard to believe. But car/SUV mileage is one of the easier things to improve. OTOH, it also indicates why electric cars won’t solve the problem, if they are charged by coal power plants.

      1. washunate

        That’s also an interesting situation when people confuse the issue of oil dependence with the issue of fossil fuel usage. It’s mostly coal, not oil, that powers industrialized civilization. We could use a lot less oil without much trouble, but replacing coal will take major investment in decreasing energy usage and increasing wind/solar generation.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And who is the largest tailpipe emitter, oh look (to Yves’ point) it’s the US Military, very low mileage Humvees driving around the desert looking for goat herders to kill, nice

    3. washunate

      Agreed. And also this looks at the immediate producer rather than the downstream user. Power companies obviously don’t use most of the power they generate. I remember discussions about point and nonpoint sources of pollution being very interesting back in the ‘ole school days.

      Finally, of course, this effort doesn’t look at the consequences of public policy. Government (at all levels) is responsible for a variety of pollution problems (including GHG emissions) due to tax breaks and subsidies that favor car dependent sprawl, industrial agriculture, fossil fuel exploration and usage, military aggression, and similar policies.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck

    In the Berkshire Hathaway capsule summary of the kinds of contributing business activities that were involved I was surprised that rail transportation wasn’t mentioned, considering that they own BNSF. But I didn’t notice any other railroad companies listed either. On the other hand BNSF, being with Union Pacific one of the two largest western coal haulers in the USA, is abetting many of the other greenhouse gas contributors.

    I’m not surprised to see half a dozen of my erstwhile clients on the list, fossil-fired power generators all.

  3. ratefink

    Thing is, this is just the list of mid level pushers and mules; without therapy for the addicts, including lifestyle changes unimaginable to them in their desperate situation, they will spend every last nickel for just one more fix.

  4. IdahoSpud

    Berkshire Hathaway owns two power companies, which I suspect generate the bulk of the GHG that Berkshire emits. I doubt the BNSF railroad contributes more than a fraction of that. Berkshire owns MidAmerican energy, which relies primarily on coal for its generation – and I suspect that’s what drives the numbers. Berkshire also owns Pacificorp, but that leans more towards hydro and natural gas.

    In any event, ALL of these power companies are generating GHG to allow us to heat and cool our homes, open and close our garage doors, pump and heat our tap water, run our computer, refrigerate our food, etc, etc, etc. We have met the enemy – and BTW, he is us.

  5. Mark

    This is also probably a reasonably accurate list of companies that will be out of business sometime in the next thirty years or so. At least those that are only, or mainly in the energy business.

    1. washunate

      I’m curious, is that a statement about this group’s particular management teams? Or are you proposing a future where we stop using electricity and running centralized solid waste dumps and so forth?

      1. mark

        I’m not commenting on management teams. I don’t know anything about them.

        I’m saying that burning coal, oil, and gas to produce power, is on the way out, one way or another.

        I’m no expert, but as far as I know, in general, energy companies have not spent much effort, time, money, expertise, and son on, investing in renewable energy.

    2. Jim Haygood

      The Greenhouse 100 is basically a utilities, energy, chemicals and refining sector fund.

      But it might be a “trading buy” one of these days.

      ETF to follow! :-)

  6. Crazy Horse

    Emissions know no national boundaries, nor do global corporations.

    By only counting emissions produced within the US you just end up with a list of power plants with very little analytic value.

    1- US government emissions are as broad as the worldwide military presence, but the fuel that an aircraft carrier burns roaming the seven seas or the burning oil wells left in the wake of yet another regime change are ignored.
    2- Chevron and BP settle innocuously down in the 30’s in this ranking system which completely misrepresents their actual contribution to global emissions.
    3- Does the pollution that comes out of a Chevy tailpipe belong to General Motors? Or to Canada where the tar sand was mined? Or to the Koch Brothers who refined it? Or to Burlington Northern/Berkshire Hathaway who transported the crude to the refinery? Or to Joe’s Gas station that sold it? Or is it irrelevant as this list would imply?

  7. Fiver

    These are the interests that failed to meet the future – old thinking, old money, old power – men like Buffett fattened up with guaranteed Goldman profits from the Great Bust and straight into a railroad giant hauling coal and oil and equipment and everything else for the fracking/resource boom, helped immensely by Obama’s nixing of Keystone, or the ever estimable Koch Brothers, or Chevron or the US military (biggest US consumer of oil). I just read a piece discussing a report from Exxon, and guess what? They project both US and global energy use and mix pretty much as if there had never been an environmental movement.

    Had these guys as a sector (or even just a handful of the biggest) at any time during the last 30 of the last century followed where realistic science clearly pointed re the total negative effects of fossil fuels (not just Climate Change) and invested even 10% of what was frittered away every year drilling blanks, we’d be there. Instead, we’re looking at a massive adaptive failure right in the eye.

  8. Fiver

    That Buffett’s interests in coal, oil, power and especially rail hauling a huge percentage of the entire fracking/resource boom’s inputs/outputs scores so much worse than the Koch Bros is instructive – you make a lot more money when you are the winning side. A miracle, but true.

    It’s evident to me that the fossil fuels industry, in all of its manifestations (from fuel to chemicals,etc.) has no intention of going anywhere positive any time soon re the total degree of ecological damage done, and while some movement has taken place at the international conceptual level, it takes place against a backdrop of deep uncertainty, confusion, paralysis, anger, hostility globally and obviously, in more muted form, regionally in the US and Canada.

    I see no way for the globe to get to where it needs to be if the US refuses to bite into the notion of allowable per capita footprint (including habitat destruction), which for non-Mexican North Americans is multiples of other developed nations and many, many times more than the poorest. I have for decades opined that we will not get there without major individual and collective lifestyle changes – cripes, I saw a doc the other night where we were informed 85% of the small mouth bass in the US Northeast had testes where ovaries would’ve been. That’s a near extinction event of a once thriving, popular sport fishing species, normal, healthy populations of fish in water that has been contaminated with some sort of hormonal agent we’re either feeding the animals or the people.

    How to break the hold of media on that vast ocean of people taught to think badly or not at all, mostly by media which, we are constantly told, is all about us? Not them. Us. How and why did 2 generations of the most capable young people in the US so thoroughly abandon any sense of social responsibility and head for MBA’a and Wall Street or techies that create some personal Icon with which to create the profitable myth. All of these guys had doubtless heard, and read, about the looming problems we’ve faced most or all of their professional lives. But this way was ‘easier’ (defined from the top) and that’s what we did. So it’s all on the next generation in a way that is grossly unfair, given the generation that lived prior to theirs, us, had things so good for so long there may never be its equal. No country for selfish, greedy men.

Comments are closed.