Around 8.1 billion people currently live in the world and everyone is responsible for the fact that the earth’s atmosphere is heating up. But the contributions are extremely different. So had the richest percent of the world’s population in 2019 produced as many greenhouse gases as the poorer two-thirds combined. This emerges from a study by the development organization Oxfam presented on Monday. Inequality is also extreme in Germany.
Oxfam worked with the Stockholm Environment Institute on the report “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%”. In it, they analyze consumption-related emissions by income class in 2019 and in previous years since 1990. The study was published ten days before the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Dubai.
According to the calculations, CO2 are increasing2-Emissions as income increases, for example through larger houses, larger and more cars, more frequent air travel and overall higher consumption, in extreme cases in the form of luxury villas, mega yachts and private jets. Oxfam emphasizes: “Extreme differences are emerging between the greenhouse gas emissions of the rich and super-rich and the rest of the world.”
The consumer behavior of the richest percent of the world’s population in 2019 – then 77 million people – caused around 16 percent of global emissions. That’s more than the CO2-Emissions from global road traffic. The richest ten percent of the world’s population were responsible for around half of the greenhouse gas emissions.
The authors of the study calculate how much the emissions of the rich collide with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement. The underlying assumption is that every person is allowed to emit the same amount. According to the forecast presented, someone who is in the richest percent of the world’s population will, on average, emit around 22 times more CO in 20302 emissions than would be compatible with the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement.
There is also a strong imbalance in Germany. The richest ten percent were responsible for 28 percent of consumption-related emissions in 2019. The richest percent had a share of eight percent of this.
The CO was there2-Emissions in the richest percent averaged 83.3 tons. That is more than 15 times as much as in the poorer half of the German population (5.4 tons) and still seven times as much as in the relatively wealthy middle class of the middle 40 percent (11.4 tons).
»Through their extreme consumption, the rich and super-rich are fueling the climate crisis, with heat waves, droughts and floods the livelihoods of billions of people are threatenedespecially in the low-income countries of the global south,” said Manuel Schmitt from Oxfam Germany.
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With a view to the upcoming climate summit in Dubai, Oxfam is calling for the phase-out of fossil fuels to be pushed ahead, especially in rich industrialized countries. Because historically they have contributed the most to the climate crisis. The fossil fuel phase-out is a major issue in Dubai.
This also requires new taxes for climate-damaging corporations and on the assets and income of the super-rich, emphasizes the development organization. This would increase the financial scope for the transition to renewable energy and help overcome extreme inequality in the world.
Ultimately, you need one Overcoming the current economic system and the fixation on profit-making, exploitation of natural resources and consumer-oriented lifestyles. A first step is to stop using growth as an indicator of progress.
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