Polluter Elite: World Facing Twin Crises Of Climate Breakdown And Runaway Inequality
The richest 1% of humanity is responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%, with dire consequences for vulnerable communities, according to the most comprehensive study of global climate inequality ever undertaken.
The Oxfam report found this elite group, made up of 77 million people including billionaires, millionaires and those paid more than $140,000 annually, accounted for 16% of all CO2 emissions in 2019, enough to cause more than a million excess mortalities due to heat.
Oxfam Report Ahead Of COP28 In UAE
The twin crises of climate and inequality are “fuelling one another”, said Chiara Liguori, Oxfam’s senior climate justice policy adviser. The extravagant carbon footprint of the 0.1% is 77 times higher than the upper level needed for global warming to peak at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This elite also wield enormous political power by owning social networks and media organisations, hiring advertising and PR agencies and lobbyists, and mixing socially with senior politicians, who are also often members of the 1%, according to the report.
In 2019, high-income countries were responsible for 40% of global consumption-based CO2 emissions, while the contribution from low-income countries was a negligible 0.4%. Africa, despite being home to one in six of the world population, was responsible for just 4%.
Hefty Wealth Taxes On The Super-rich
The suffering falls disproportionately upon people living in poverty, migrants, women and girls, and marginalised ethnic communities. These groups are less likely to have savings, Insurance or social protection, which makes them more economically and physically vulnerable.
In an effort to support the worst affected, reduce inequality and fund a green transition, the global charitable organisation, Oxfam, says a 60% tax on the income of the wealthiest 1% would raise $6.4 trillion annually and reduce emissions by 695 million tonnes.