The report by Oxfam International highlights how the world’s wealthiest one percent, comprising 77 million people, are responsible for emitting 16 percent of global carbon emissions, equivalent to the emissions of the poorest 66 percent, or 5.11 billion people.
The study emphasizes the disparity in emissions and consumption between the rich and the poor, pointing out that the wealthy are not only contributing through personal consumption but also through investments in high-polluting industries.
The report calls for progressive climate policies to address the disproportionate impact of the super-rich on the environment.
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“The richer you are, the easier it is to cut both your personal and your investment emissions,” explained co-author Max Lawson.
“You don’t need that third car, or that fourth holiday, or you don’t need to be invested in the cement industry,” he continued.
The Stockholm Environment Institute examined different income groups and recorded their consumption emissions. This research is explored and explained in “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%”.
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Excluding the carbon associated with his investments, Bernard Arnault, the billionaire founder of Louis Vuitton and richest man in France, has a footprint 1,270 times greater than that of the average Frenchman.
Lawson challenges lower classes to hold wealthy so-called environmentalists accountable for having excessive carbon footprints.
“We think that unless governments enact climate policy that is progressive, where you see the people who emit the most being asked to take the biggest sacrifices, then we’re never going to get good politics around this,” said Lawson.
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Lawson’s report also suggest that “the personal consumption of the super-rich is dwarfed by emissions resulting from their investments in companies.”
This comes as world leaders prepare to attend the COP28 summit in Dubai, where discussions on climate change and measures to address it are expected to take place.