The True Cost of Corporate Carbon Emissions: A Wake-Up Call for Accountability

In a world increasingly defined by climate change and its myriad consequences, accountability remains paramount. But who’s truly accountable when it comes to the vast amounts of CO2 that are pumped into the atmosphere every year? OnderLaw, deeply vested in fighting for justice and reparations for those wronged, believes that knowledge is power and wants to shed light on a recent, ground-breaking study published in the journal Science.

The Carbon Liability Stakes

The findings are staggering: nearly 15,000 publicly owned companies contribute to a level of climate change pollution that could take a bite of around 44% out of their profits if they were to pay for the damages. Just to clarify, this sum isn’t a minor amount—it could run into trillions globally.

And while the research doesn’t pinpoint individual corporations, it illuminates a telling pattern. Four industries, notably energy, utilities, transportation, and material manufacturing (like steel), are responsible for nearly 90% of the calculated damage.

The Power of Disclosure

New regulations, such as those implemented by the European Union, are pushing for companies to disclose their carbon emissions. Similar regulations are being considered in the US by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state of California. The rationale is clear: transparency can lead to accountability.

Historical evidence backs this approach. A prior study revealed that fracking firms which disclosed their pollution rates saw a 10%-15% drop in contamination levels. It’s a win-win for both the environment and a firm’s reputation.

Shared Responsibility, But Not Equally

However, it’s essential to note that pointing fingers solely at corporations is an over-simplified viewpoint. The study’s co-author, Christian Leuz, astutely observes that the responsibility is shared between the producers (firms) and the consumers. It’s a complex tapestry of cause and effect.

Moreover, some sectors, such as banking and insurance, have minimal climate damages relative to their profits. Similarly, the degree of corporate climate damages varies from one country to another.

The Way Forward

The study brings with it a clarion call. It’s time to assess and act. However, as Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Romer suggests, it’s crucial to avoid a simplistic “blame game.” Instead, the focus should shift to viable, holistic solutions—like moving to zero carbon fuel—that tackle the root problem rather than its branches.


As champions of justice, we at OnderLaw believe that drawing attention to such critical issues aligns with our ethos of bringing accountability where it’s due. The cost of corporate carbon emissions isn’t just monetary; it’s a shared, ethical responsibility that impacts our planet’s future. It’s time to act responsibly, both as corporations and as consumers. If you or a loved one have been affected by corporate pollution, contact us today. Your case is our cause.