Domestic Governments, MNCs and Carbon Emissions

Under the current global economic system, it would be impossible to achieve sustainability because of the reliance on fossil fuels and the influence of massive energy companies. Companies must govern themselves and embrace corporate social responsibility fully if the world has any chance of cutting emissions to the levels laid out in the most recent IPCC report. According to the report, there are about 12 years left for emissions to be cut by at least 50% across the board before the damage done to the global ecosystem is irreversible.

In order to reach this goal companies and specifically energy giants operating around the world must focus on the long term ramifications of resource extraction and make major shifts in how they operate. They must work with governments and figure out how to shift the economy away from fossil fuels without causing too much damage to their bottom line. This has been difficult and emissions have remained steady or risen in many places because governments and corporations alike are interested in the economic value of fossil fuels rather than looking further down the line at effects of carbon emissions.

The approval of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and the Dakota Keystone Pipeline show that even though governments are aware of the risks, they are still willing to put unsustainable energy sources above economic losses. If governments continue to act in the interests of energy companies and energy companies fail to regulate themselves, the world has a very low chance of cutting emissions to the necessary level.

MNCs operating within the energy sector must engage with environmental NGOs and take into account the wishes of civil society. In order to save the environment from irreversible damage corporations must work with all aspects of society and come to solutions that do not include the construction of new pipelines or other methods of fossil fuel extraction. That being said, governments must also make compromises and provide economic and scientific aid to those corporations whose bottom line is dependent on the use and sale of oil and other fossil fuels.

Naming and shaming can only make so much of an impact and in order to create a tangible change and significant reduction in global emissions, MNCs and domestic governing bodies must work with civil society. There has to be an effort by the companies involved, the governments reaping economic benefits and the people looking for change. MNCs are political actors and they have a large influence over how the global economy operates and how it evolves to fit the times.


IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 32 pp.

Nord, James. “South Dakota Panel Endorses Bills Aimed at Possible Keystone XL Pipeline Protests.” Global News, 7 Mar. 2019,

Ruggie, John Gerard. Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights. First edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *