Fossil fuel pollution has been around for a long time as man has been burning everything from wood and dung to oil and coal for thousands of years, which means global warming, particularly beginning around 1850, is fact, not fiction. To that end, an interesting piece from Alternet identifying the big 8 compnies responsible for a significant portion of the burning of FFs is a wakeup call for planet earth and the people who live on it.
Thanks to the groundbreaking work of geographer Richard Heede, we also know that a relatively small number of investor- and government-owned companies are responsible for two-thirds of human-caused carbon emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Heede’s 2014 study  found that just 90 companies accounted for 65 percent of worldwide carbon emissions between 1854 and 2013. What’s more, half of those companies’ total emissions have occurred since 1988—long after the scientific community and the public became aware of the threat posed by global warming.
In light of Heede’s findings, what responsibility do these fossil fuel giants bear for climate change? And what role should they play now, given that the December 2015 Paris climate accord has committed nearly 200 nations to move to a low-carbon future?
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently compiled a scorecard  to help answer these questions. In its new analysis, UCS rated the business practices of the top eight U.S. investor-owned fossil fuel companies on Heede’s list that are U.S.-based or have a North American affiliate. In order of emissions magnitude, they are:
Together, these eight companies are responsible for nearly 15 percent of worldwide industrial carbon emissions since the 1850s and have spent tens of millions of dollars over the last two decades to deceive the public about the reality of climate change.
Adapt or die.
If the companies UCS surveyed are smart, they will reinvent themselves. History provides clear examples of success—and failure. Back in the mid-1800s, whaling, which provided oil for the lamps that lighted much of the Western world, was the fifth-largest industry in the United States. By the second half of that century, whale oil was replaced by kerosene, which in turn was rendered obsolete by the electric light. The whaling industry collapsed.
By contrast, Fisher Brothers, which manufactured horse-drawn carriages at the turn of the 20th century, adapted to the changing times. Realizing that its future was tied to the fledgling auto industry, the company redesigned its product to handle the stresses and strains of the new technology. It morphed into the fabulously successful Fisher Body Company, which eventually became a division of General Motors.
The question is, can they do it as time is running out for them and ... for us.