The world’s wealthiest people make a huge contribution to climate change through carbon-hungry activities. Emissions of the wealthiest are on track to be 30 times higher than what’s needed to stop the planet from warming above 1.5c, according to study.
When we think ‘the rich’, we might think of millionaires and billionaires with private jets, superyachts and multiple mansions. But an income of $38 000 is enough to put someone in the world’s richest 10% and $109 000 puts them in the top /1%.
According to a report by Oxfam and the Stockholm in 2020, the world’s wealthiest 10% were responsible for about half of global emissions in 2015. The 1% were accountable for 15% of emissions, nearly twice as much as the world’s poorest 50%,who were responsible for about 7%.
The poorest 50%, however, will be most severely impacted by climate change.
Climate scientists warn that there is finite amount of greenhouse gases that we can continue to release into the atmosphere before the planet warms to more than 1.5C from pre-industrial levels.
Some governments are making big changes. The Welsh government has suspended investment in new road building to meet emissions targets, while the Netherlands has proposed cutting livestock numbers by 30% to reduce pollution.
From carbon markets to flight levies, economic interventions have the potential to drastically reduce the world’s carbon emissions. Carbon cost analyses some of the most powerful measures that could reshape the way we live and our relationship with the planet and nature.