The world’s richest 1% is responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 5 billion people, according to a report released by Oxfam on Monday. The study, titled “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%,” found that the super-rich emit an average of 8,194 tons of greenhouse gases per year, while the average person in the bottom 99% emits just 4.1 tons.
This gap is only widening as people in developing countries are feeling the most impact of climate change. The report highlights that a tax on the incomes of the richest 1% could reduce CO2 emissions by more than the UK’s total emissions and raise $6.4 trillion a year to support renewable energy projects.
The findings of this report are alarming as it shows that the era of extreme wealth is a major obstacle in ending our dependence on fossil fuels and saving millions of lives and our planet. Amitabh Behar, interim director of Oxfam International, emphasized this point saying “It is clearer than ever that this is impossible until we also end the era of extreme wealth.”
The study was based on research in collaboration with a Swedish research institute, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and assessed consumption emissions of different income groups in 2019, which was the most recent year for which data was available according to Oxfam Belgium.