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Eye-popping chart shows which corporations 'owe' money to communities they've harmed: '[They] have a moral responsibility'

"Polluters can no longer hide from their crimes against humanity and nature."

One Earth report wants big corporations to pay for community damage

Photo Credit: iStock

A chart created by One Earth highlighting how much damage major corporations have done to our planet is making the rounds online, sparking outrage among viewers who want such companies to pay for the pollution that has damaged our homes and health.

The chart, which was published on April 4, shows which dirty energy corporations — or companies that make money by drilling for and selling coal, oil, and gas — have played the biggest roles in rising global temperatures and severe weather events. 

Next to each company's name is the dollar figure that experts believe they should pay to the communities they've harmed the most.

The One Earth report that accompanied the chart states that the 21 companies listed will be responsible for the majority of severe weather events caused by changing temperatures between 2025 and 2050. 

"Fossil fuel companies have a moral responsibility to affected parties for climate harm and have a duty to rectify such harm," states the report. "A direct way to do so is through payment of reparations to wronged parties … in the case of the carbon fuel industry, reparations require that companies relinquish part of their tainted wealth to provide affected subjects with financial means for coping with climate harm."

While the companies listed in the chart and ones like them continue to get richer, their profits often come at the expense of poor communities.

A report from the University of Michigan shows that toxic waste plants are most often found in low-income neighborhoods. These plants increase pollution and expose the residents to serious health hazards like cancer.

Extreme flooding caused by global warming also tends to hit low-income areas the hardest. In 2017, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, poor neighborhoods suffered the most damage because they were situated in the areas most prone to flooding, according to Brookings.

Low-income areas also suffer the most during the heat waves that are brought on by global warming. The Los Angeles Times reported that these neighborhoods are the least likely to have air conditioning.

"The case is clear for oil and gas companies to pay reparations for the harm their fossil fuels have caused," Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, told the Guardian.

"This new report puts the numbers on the table — polluters can no longer hide from their crimes against humanity and nature," said Harjeet Sing, a prominent member of Climate Action International, according to the outlet. 

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