According to a study, the richest percentage of the world’s population blasts more than twice the climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere as the poorer half of humanity. This is evident from a report that development organization Oxfam published prior to the general debate of the 75th General Assembly of the UN in New York that started on Tuesday.
Oxfam called on the rich to reduce their CO2 consumption, invest more in public infrastructure and rebuild the economy in a climate-friendly way.
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The report focuses on the years 1990 to 2015, which are important for climate policy, and in which emissions worldwide have doubled. The richest ten percent of people (630 million) were responsible for more than half (52 percent) of CO2 emissions during this period, Oxfam reported. The richest percentage of the world’s population alone (63 million people) consumed 15 percent, while the poorer half of the world’s population accounted for only 7 percent.
The catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt in many places. “This is because of policies that focus on incentives for consumption, promise continuous growth and divide the world economically into winners and losers,” said Ellen Ehmke, social inequality expert at Oxfam Germany. “The poorest pay the price for the consumer frenzy of a wealthy minority.”
In Germany, according to Oxfam, the richest ten percent or 8.3 million people are responsible for 26 percent of German CO2 emissions in the period studied. With 41.5 million people, the poorer half of the German population, five times as large, consumed only slightly more at 29 percent.
A lever in the fight against climate change is traffic, especially air traffic. Oxfam is particularly critical of urban SUVs, which were the second largest emitter between 2010 and 2018.
“We have to solve the climate and inequality crisis together,” said Ehmke. The excessive CO2 consumption of the richest is at the expense of everyone and must be limited. “Taxes on climate-damaging SUVs and frequent flying would be a first step.” (Dpa)