Richest 10% Emit Double The Carbon Of The World’s Poorest

Photograph: Thomas Locke Hobbs This image was marked with a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

A report released by Oxfam in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute revealed the world’s richest 10% accounted for 52% of co2 emissions.

The report notes that the richest 10% contributed this amount between the years 1990 and 2015, almost a decade after a report conducted by ExxonMobile admitting their knowledge of the impacts of Climate Change. Oxfam say they blew “one third of our remaining global 1.5C carbon budget, compared to just 4 percent for the poorest half of the population.”

Referencing premature celebratory achievements of the global lockdown, in the report, Oxfam call attention to this: “Restrictions related to the pandemic saw global emissions fall this year. But unless emissions continue to decline rapidly, the 1.5C global carbon budget will be fully depleted by 2030 The inequality is such that the richest 10% alone would fully deplete it by just a few years later, even if everyone else’s emissions dropped to zero tomorrow.”

The report is a damning evaluation of the world’s richest and highlights a lack of concern for lifting people out of poverty, despite pledging aid. Developing nations will feel the rough end of climate catastrophe, with most already experiencing ecological breakdown enhanced by natural disasters that include flooding, extreme heat and food insecurity. Biodiversity has already felt the consequences of human encroachment, with more than 60% of the world’s animal populations wiped out since 1970.

“Over the past 20-30 years, the climate crisis has been fuelled and our limited global carbon budget squandered in the service of increasing the consumption of the already affluent, rather than lifting people out of poverty” the report says.

Its release renews the question of systemic vs individual change and who should shoulder responsibility to counter negative effects of greenhouse gases. Systemic change is most likely to avert negative climatic decline, though individual actions still make a difference. Other measures that may work should be implemented by government including education from young ages to packaging limits and surcharges such as the 10p plastic bag fee. But ultimately, Oxfam’s report echoes what we already knew. The world’s richest need to step up their efforts to curb emissions.

Green MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Stark reminder from ⁦@oxfamgb⁩ of deep injustice at the heart of the #climate crisis. UK Government has moral responsibility to go faster to reach Net Zero because of its disproportionately high historic emissions, and to set example as host of #COP26

The report was released in time for the United Nation’s general assembly this week with the Climate Crisis high up on the agenda.