Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Research conducted by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado suggests that 90 companies across the world are the top emitters of harmful greenhouse gases.
The list includes oil companies Chevron, Exxon and British Petroleum and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.
All but seven of the 90 companies were energy producers, and the balance were cement producing companies. They collectively emitted 914 gigatons of CO2 between 1971 and 2010.
"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," Heede said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."
The research has been supported by environmental activist and former Vice President Al Gore, who called on companies to do their part, saying that governments alone cannot be held accountable for the status of our environment.
The list included 50 investor-owned companies, 31 state-owned companies and nine government-run industries from China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of the recent round of climate talks.
By Heede's calculations, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity -- 8.9 percent of the total emissions . China come close with 8.6 percent coming from its government-run industries.
Chevron is the leading company with 3.5 percent of emissions to date closely followed by Exxon and BP with 3.2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.