World’s richest 1% emit twice as much CO2 as the poorest half
Monday, 21 September 2020
The richest 1% of the world’s population was responsible for more than twice as many CO2 emissions as the poorest half of humanity between 1990 and 2015, according to a report by Oxfam published at the start of the United Nations General Assembly.
That period saw an unprecedented growth in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report, which was produced in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
“The richest 10 percent accounted for over half (52 percent) of the emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015,” according to the report.
“The richest one percent were responsible for 15 percent of emissions during this time – more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7 percent).”
The report also points out that between 1990 and 2015, the world’s richest 10% consumed a third of the global carbon budget still available to limit global warming to 1.5°C, which is the main objective of the Paris agreement. The poorest 50% consumed only 4% of this carbon budget.
“The over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling the climate crisis yet it is poor communities and young people who are paying the price,” said Alba Saray Pérez Teran, head of climate policy of Oxfam Belgium, quoted in a statement.
“Transportation accounts for around a quarter of global emissions today, while SUVs were the second biggest driver of global carbon emissions growth between 2010 and 2018,” Oxfam added.
The report estimates that the richest 10% will have to reduce their annual CO2 emissions by more than 90% over the next 10 years to reach the goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C by 2030.
Oxfam, which believes that climate change is intrinsically linked to inequalities, suggests that governments should tackle both the climate crisis and extreme inequalities, by prioritising the emissions of the richest and investing in a just transition that saves the planet and protects the well-being of its inhabitants.
Oxfam Belgium finally reminds that many Belgians are among the 10% richest in the world and that on average, the amount of CO2 emitted per person in Belgium is eight times higher than the threshold not to be exceeded to limit global warming to 1.5°C.