A recent report by Oxfam has revealed that the richest 1% of the world’s population produces as much carbon pollution as the poorest 5 billion people, who make up two-thirds of humanity. This highlights the deep gap between the carbon footprint of the super-rich and the majority of people around the world. The report, “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%,” was released in collaboration with a Swedish research institute, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and assesses consumption emissions of different income groups in 2019.
According to Oxfam, each year, the emissions of the richest 1% would wipe out the carbon dioxide savings of nearly a million wind turbines. The SEI found that a person in the bottom 99% emits an average of 4.1 tons of carbon per year, while a survey conducted by SEI on some of the world’s wealthiest individuals shows that they emit an average of 8,194 tons of greenhouse gases per year, including over 5,959 tons of carbon dioxide.
The organization calculated that a 60% tax on the incomes of the richest 1% would reduce CO₂ emissions by more than UK’s total emissions and raise $6.4 trillion a year to support transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. As such, ending extreme wealth is crucial in order to effectively address climate change and ensure a sustainable future for all people.