Which U.S. companies have the biggest carbon footprint and are guilty of releasing the most greenhouse gases into the air? We determined which American companies are the biggest offenders by using data from the Greenhouse 100 Polluters Index, a report by PERI that includes their 2019 greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalent metric tons. The total amount of greenhouse gas emitted from the 50 companies on our list account for nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions for the year.
Which industries emit the most greenhouse gas? The industrial sectors these 100 companies are a part of include power plants, petroleum and natural gas systems, chemicals, waste, refineries, metals, minerals, and pulp and paper. What is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases? Those in the power plant and petroleum and natural gas sectors seem to contribute the most to these high levels of greenhouse gases. Read on in this visualization from Solar Power Guide to see what companies have the biggest carbon footprint due to their extremely high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
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The U.S. company with the highest greenhouse gas emissions is Vistra Energy, which released a carbon dioxide equivalent of 106 million metric tons in 2019, 18% more emissions than Duke Energy, which was found to have emitted the second most metric tons of CO2. Even the United States government needs to work on lessening its carbon footprint, as it ranked sixth on our list, with emissions levels that reached 47.5 million metric tons of CO2.
Vistra Energy is a retail electricity and power generation company based in Texas. They are the U.S.’s largest competitive power generator, with a diverse portfolio that includes natural gas, nuclear, solar, and battery energy storage. The company even owns a power plant that contains the largest battery energy storage system in the world.
The 10 U.S. Companies That Emit the Most Metric Tons of CO2
The United States greenhouse gas emissions totaled a carbon dioxide equivalent of 6,558 million metric tons in 2019. The 50 companies included on our list together totaled 1,478 million metric tons of CO2, which amounted to 22.5% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.
While more than 6 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions may seem like a lot (and it is), the total output has decreased 12% since 2005, which was the year it hit its peak, with emissions numbers reaching more than 7 billion metric tons. We hope to see this number continue to decline as companies across the United States and around the world continue their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil, which was the tenth-largest offender on our list, has detailed ways to reduce their carbon footprint with a goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 15-20% by 2025. What else can some of the biggest polluters in the world do to reduce their carbon footprint?
|Rank||Parent Corporation or Entity||2019 Emissions (CO2 Equivalent in Metric Tons)||Industrial Sector(s)|
|1||Vistra Energy||106,510,086||Power Plants|
|2||Duke Energy||87,140,105||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Waste, Other|
|3||Southern Company||86,244,286||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|4||Berkshire Hathaway||74,960,726||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Minerals, Metals, Chemicals, Other|
|5||American Electric Power||70,044,545||Power Plants, Other|
|6||U.S. Government||47,504,228||Power Plants, Waste, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Other|
|7||Xcel Energy||46,975,696||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|8||Energy Capital Partners||41,420,489||Power Plants, Metals|
|9||NextEra Energy||40,521,250||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|10||ExxonMobil||38,252,969||Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Power Plants, Chemicals, Other|
|11||NRG Energy||36,806,514||Power Plants, Other|
|12||Marathon Petroleum||36,405,742||Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Power Plants, Chemicals, Other|
|13||Entergy||35,760,849||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|14||Dominion Energy||35,646,444||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|15||Cleveland-Cliffs||32,585,506||Metals, Minerals, Waste, Other|
|16||DTE Energy||30,551,954||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Metals|
|17||PPL Corp.||28,493,455||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|18||Evergy Inc.||27,620,949||Power Plants, Other|
|19||ArcLight Capital Partners||26,560,645||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Refineries|
|20||Phillips 66||26,375,931||Refineries, Power Plants, Chemicals, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Waste, Other|
|21||Chevron||24,549,906||Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Power Plants, Waste, Other|
|22||Ameren||24,314,880||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|Chemicals, Pulp and Paper, Refineries, Minerals, Waste, Other|
|24||Valero Energy||23,474,041||Refineries, Chemicals, Other|
|25||United States Steel||22,224,821||Metals, Waste, Other|
|26||WEC Energy Group||22,179,428||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems|
|28||LS Power||19,800,359||Power Plants|
|29||AES Corp.||19,586,036||Power Plants, Other|
|30||Associated Electric Cooperative Inc.||18,623,427||Power Plants|
|31||Blackstone||18,584,285||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems|
|32||Basin Electric Power Cooperative||18,198,882||Power Plants, Chemicals, Minerals, Other|
|33||Macquarie||18,158,027||Power Plants, Waste, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|34||FirstEnergy||18,050,230||Power Plants, Other|
|35||Energy Transfer||17,469,106||Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Power Plants, Other|
|36||CMS Energy||17,391,563||Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|37||Royal Dutch Shell||16,504,977||Refineries, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Chemicals, Other|
|39||Dow Inc.||16,126,051||Chemicals, Power Plants, Metals, Waste, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Other|
|40||BP||15,377,834||Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, Refineries, Power Plants, Chemicals, Other|
|41||PBF Energy||14,654,623||Refineries, Chemicals, Power Plants, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems|
|42||Colstrip Power Plant||14,277,559||Power Plants|
|43||Plant Scherer||13,764,419||Power Plants|
|44||Pinnacle West Capital||12,945,950||Power Plants, Other|
|45||Prairie State Generating||12,737,155||Power Plants, Other|
|46||Air Products & Chemicals||12,683,848||Chemicals, Power Plants|
|48||Lower Colorado River Authority||12,483,976||Power Plants, Other|
|49||OGE Energy||12,417,783||Power Plants, Other|
|50||Archer Daniels Midland||12,388,843||Pulp and Paper, Waste, Other|