In the largest study of global climate pollution and inequality, it is reported that the richest 1% of people are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions, exceeding the emissions of the poorest 66%, reports The Guardian.
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Serious situation, globally. Pollution takes lives annually
This elite, including billionaires, millionaires and those with annual incomes over $140,000, generated 16% of all CO2 emissions in 2019, obviously affecting everyone else.
These emissions caused a devastating impact, enough to cause an additional million heat deaths.
The special investigation, called The Great Carbon Divide, carried out in collaboration with Oxfam, the Stockholm Environment Institute and other experts, looks at the causes and consequences of carbon inequality.
Climate justice will be a key issue at the UN’s Cop28 climate summit, but many fear it may already be too late for the situation to reverse.
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The rich pollute, the poor bear the consequences
The emissions of the 1% are equivalent to the destruction of important crops globally, and the suffering is felt especially by the poor, marginalized communities, migrants and women living in extreme weather conditions.
These groups have fewer financial and social resources, which exposes them to economic and physical risks in the event of extreme weather events.
Climate inequality manifests itself not only between nations, but also within them. Billionaires, mostly white, male and based in the US and Europe, wield considerable political and corporate power, influencing policies and actions that favor increased carbon emissions.
In this regard, Oxfam proposes high wealth taxes on the very rich and additional taxes on fossil fuel companies to reduce inequality and finance the transition to renewable energy, although in all fairness this will not reduce the world’s pollution.
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