Carbon emission inequality highlighted in new Oxfam report

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 24, 2020

EURACTIV's media partner, The Guardian, reports.

It also found that annual emissions grew by 60% between 1990 and 2015, with the richest 5% responsible for 37% of this growth.

A report compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute showed that Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period.

Tim Gore, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Research at Oxfam and the author of the report, said that, "The over-consumption of the wealthy is fueling the climate crisis, yet it is poor communities and young people who are paying the price".

Gore says the carbon budget of the world is being squandered to expand the rich's already very big consumption, instead of improving humanity. "A finite amount of carbon can be added to the atmosphere if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis".

Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan has promised climate action will be "socially progressive and environmentally progressive", but there is anxiety among large sectors of the population that they will have to carry an undue burden through taxes on essential fuels and job losses in carbon-intensive industries. The results show that the richest 10% accounted for one-third of the carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists estimate will lead to temperature rises of more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, while the poorest half emitted just 4%.

That means 475,000 high earners emit as much climate-changing carbon as 2.3 million people on modest and low incomes, or one person in the top 10pc emits the same as five in the bottom 50pc. It warned of the burgeoning over-consumption by the world's wealthy, with their addiction to transportation with high carbon emissions that is depleting the carbon budget of the world.

The Stockholm Environment Institute and Oxfam published the research.

According to Oxfam, allowing the world's rich to continue their obscene levels of emissions is unfair to the world's poor. Instead, as the world moves towards renewable energy and phases out fossil fuels, the emissions that are still necessary during the transition should be used to improve poor people's access to basic amenities. However, Gore says that the world's carbon budget is already almost used up by the rich, and continues to use it to get even richer.

The total increase in emissions of the richest one percent was three times more than the total increase in emissions of the poorest half of the population. One way to address this would be to impose a "frequent flyer tax", Oxfam states.

"My indigenous peoples have long borne the brunt of environmental destruction", said Ibrahim.

"As a wealthy nation with historical responsibility for causing climate breakdown, New Zealand has a responsibility to do more than the global average to reduce emissions", Spratt said.

It says the climate crisis is being driven by the accumulation of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over, meaning that the drop off of emissions during the coronavirus lockdowns are unlikely to make a major difference. Those who are so much more exposed and vulnerable to its impacts have done least to contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing it. "We need to go further and faster in reaching net zero". Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom prime minister, is expected to set out his vision for the next UN climate summit, called Cop26 and to be convened in Glasgow in November 2021, after the coronavirus crisis forced a year's delay to the event.

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