Oxfam Report: The World’s Richest 1% Emit More Carbon Than the Poorest 66%
According to a damning report released by Oxfam on November 19, there is a significant disparity in carbon emissions between the world’s richest and poorest individuals. The richest 1% (around 77 million people) are responsible for as much greenhouse gas emissions as the bottom 66% (approximately 5 billion people). This inequality is further magnified in France, where the carbon footprint of the wealthiest is far heavier than that of the least affluent.
The Stark Contrast in France
Per the report, an average French person emits 9 tonnes of CO2 annually. However, the poorest 50% emit only 3.8 tonnes each, while the richest 0.01% emit a staggering 261 tonnes per person per year. This disparity underscores the pressing need for corrective measures to achieve carbon neutrality, which aims for no more than 2 tonnes of CO2 emissions per person annually.
Spotlight on the Ultra-Wealthy
The report does not shy away from mentioning those with the most extravagant carbon footprints. Noteworthy among them is French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who emitted 10,421 tonnes of CO2 in 2018 alone. This is the equivalent of the combined emissions of 1,158 average French citizens. Other ultra-wealthy individuals, such as Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, also lead in emissions due to their opulent lifestyles, which often involve private jets and yachts.
Oxfam suggests implementing measures targeting the rich, like a climate wealth tax and a tax on kerosene. These recommendations aim to encourage emission reductions among those most capable of making substantial changes. By targeting the wealthy, Oxfam aims to reduce the inequality in carbon emissions, thereby addressing two global crises—climate change and rampant inequality—simultaneously.
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