The top 21 global fossil fuel producers in the world are collectively responsible for $5.4 trillion in expected economic costs from climate change over the period of 2025-2050, averaging $209 billion per year, says a study published in the peer-reviewed journal One Earth. These costs are attributed to the extreme weather events and other climate change damages caused by the companies’ operational and product emissions from 1988 to 2022.
The study titled “Time to Pay the Piper” by Marco Grasso and Richard Heede, proposes a morally-based responsibility for oil, gas, and coal producers to compensate for climate damages. It quantifies the annual payments owed by these companies from 2025 to 2050 for the expected economic costs of climate change.
The total global economic damages from climate change – estimated by a consensus survey of 738 climate economists – come to $99 trillion between 2025 and 2050. After accounting non-fossil fuel sources of warming, the study estimates that fossil fuel emissions will contribute to $69.6 trillion in future economic damages during the same period. The authors attribute one third of these costs to the global fossil fuel industry, with one third each attributed to governments and consumers. Thus, the global fossil fuel industry is found to be responsible for $23.2 trillion in expected GDP loss from climate change impacts over 2025-2050, equivalent to $893 billion per year.