PERI
Research AreasEnvironmental and Energy EconomicsCorporate Toxics Information ProjectGreenhouse 100 PollutersGreenhouse 100 Polluters Press Release

Greenhouse 100 Names Top Climate Polluters

Contact Prof. Michael Ash 413-545-6329 or peri@peri.umass.edu

AMHERST, MA, June 5, 2013 – Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today released the Greenhouse 100 index, the first ranking of U.S. industrial polluters on the basis of their emissions of the gases responsible for global climate change. The Greenhouse 100 index is co-sponsored by the New Economics Institute.

Topping the list are three electrical power companies: American Electric Power, Duke Energy, and Southern Company. Each of the top three emits over 100 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. 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 73 million automobiles.

The U.S. government ranks fourth on the Greenhouse 100 list, weighing in at 77 million tons – equivalent to more than 15 million cars. Rounding out the top ten are Berkshire Hathaway, Ameren Corporation, Luminant Generation Company, First Energy Generation Corporation, AES Corporation, and Xcel Energy. US Steel, ranked number 22, is the top non-energy corporation on the list.

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 for the year 2011. 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 by facility. PERI researchers calculated the percentages of low-income and minority populations living within 10 miles of each facility. These indicate the extent to which emissions of the toxic co-pollutants 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 Boyce, director of PERI’s 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 is the latest addition to PERI’s well-known “Toxic 100” rankings of corporate air polluters. Rankings of the top 100 water polluters in the country were released last month.

“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.”

###

For further information, contact Professor Michael Ash or Professor James K. Boyce at 413.545.6329 or peri@peri.umass.edu or visit PERI's Corporate Toxics Information Project.