Richest 1%'s emissions twice that of poorest 50%

Katie Ramirez
September 24, 2020

The world's wealthiest 10% was in charge of over fifty percent of cumulative carbon emissions from the quarter-century into 2015, based on new quotes.

According to researchers, the world's richest 1% causes twice the amount of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) than the world's poorest 50 percent.

Findings of the analysis also suggest the richest 5% were responsible for more than a third of this growth while the richest 10%, which comprised 630 million people between 1990 and 2015, blew one-third of the world's remaining global 1.5°C carbon budget, compared to just 4% generated by the poorest half of the population.

- Annual emissions grew by 60 per cent between 1990 and 2015.

Carbon emissions are likely to rapidly rebound as governments ease Covid-related lockdowns. That comes from a report, which the development organization Oxfam published before the general debate of the 75th UN General Assembly in NY, which begins on Tuesday.

The report said the top 10% have depleted the global carbon budget - the maximum amount of emissions that can be added while respecting the Paris Agreement's 1.5℃ goal - by almost a third.

Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.

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The charity is calling for an increase in wealth taxes and new carbon taxes on luxury items, including private jets and super yachts, as well as carbon-intensive SUVs and frequent flights.

A new report by Oxfam has laid bare the startling inequality between rich and poor when it comes to carbon emissions, concluding that the carbon emissions from the richest one per cent are more than double the emissions from the entire poorest half of the world's population.

"It's clear that the carbon intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity", he said. Communications and Advocacy Director Dr Joanna Spratt said that by not pulling its weight, New Zealand is placing an unfair burden on poorer countries, including Pacific nations, who are on the front lines of climate breakdown.

The group pointed to recent deadly cyclones in India and Bangladesh, huge locust swarms that have devastated crops across Africa, and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across Australia and the USA - all of which have occurred in 2020 and have tended to have disproportionate impacts on poorer communities.

"Poorer and marginalized individuals struggling with climate influences (...) and future generations" have been identified as the 2 groups which are the most influenced by this injustice, Oxfam mentioned while being" those responsible for its climate catastrophe".

The catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt in many places. No one is immune, but it is the poorest and most marginalised people who are hardest hit. Even reducing the per capita emissions of the richest 10 per cent to the European Union average would cut annual emissions by over a quarter. Paper mills contribute to air, water and land pollution such as nitrogen dioxide sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions. Oxfam is particularly critical of city SUVs, which were the second largest emission driver between 2010 and 2018. "Governments must seize this opportunity to reshape our economies and build a better tomorrow for us all", Mr. Clarken said. "Revenues should be invested in public services and low carbon sectors to create jobs, and help end poverty", added Gore.

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