90 firms have emitted almost two-thirds of greenhouse carbon in the industrial age #libraries

Just 90 companies have emitted 63 percent of the carbon emitted to the atmosphere since the industrial age began in 1751. That finding has been reported in various news outlets recently. But do you know how researchers determined that?

I have colleagues at various universities: at Cambridge, at the British Library in London, in Sydney, in Johannesburg, Berkeley, to look at collections of annual reports housed in business libraries. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t catalogued so we had to go in person to dusty stacks and find the old reports for most of these investor-owned companies going back to the early 1900s, sometimes even earlier than that.

Generations of business librarians have saved those annual reports, having no idea that people in the 21st century would study them to determine greenhouse gas emissions.

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