State-owned enterprises (SOEs) — companies for which 50 percent or more of voting shares are held by a government — play a major role in many of the world’s largest economies, particularly in electricity generation, oil and gas, and heavy industry. SOEs emit at least 7.49 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent every year, more than any country except China. Despite this, there has been limited discussion of the critical role SOEs will need to play to advance climate action. These emissions are concentrated in a relatively small number of large emitting companies. Additionally, state ownership of these companies gives governments direct control over their climate and energy outcomes compared to privately owned companies.
A new report from Columbia Climate School’s Center on Global Energy Policy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions from State-Owned Enterprises: A Preliminary Inventory, tracks the direct emissions of SOEs to improve their measurement and help governments use their SOEs as an essential tool for achieving climate and energy policy objectives.