New Oxfam report “Extreme Carbon Inequality” shows that the richest people on earth poison our planet the most. The study shows that the first 10 percent richest people on the planet are responsible for the production of 49 percent of the total carbon emissions on earth. On the other side, the poorest 50 percent of world’s population is contributing only 10 percent.
Data from the study also reveal that individuals from the 1 percent produce on average about 175 times more carbon than the average person in the poorest 10 percent.
Since most people seem to think that the most populous countries are the greatest polluters in the world, Oxfam’s study comes to clarify that. In reality, China’s poorest 600 million persons are producing just one-third more carbon than USA’s richest 30 million. India’s poorest 600 million have a carbon footprint similar to Japan’s wealthiest 10 percent.
At the same time, the 10 percent richest people of India emit only 25 percent of the amount emitted by US’s poorest 50 percent.
Therefore, Oxfam argues that the rich have to be held accountable and pay for the damage they cause.
Developing countries are asking for the Western states to pay, in the account of their historical responsibility, since they have been polluting the planet for a much longer period of time and they also add to other countries’ carbon footprint.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India declared on Monday, at the UN climate change summit, that besides their historical responsibility, Western countries also have the possibilities to cut down their emissions and also their cuts would make the strongest impact.
It is also to be mentioned that the great majority of the poorest people in the world live in the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change. That means that they are the most affected by a phenomenon they are not even responsible for.
Given all these facts, Oxfam believes that the COP21 in Paris needs to address the issue of poverty when negotiating between governments regarding the carbon emissions produced on their territories.
The decisions made by governments at the COP21 are of great importance, since private individuals could never solve the climate crisis on their own, no matter how they change their own lifestyle. Everybody in the world will be affected by the decisions taken these days but the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world will be the most affected.
Image source: Oxfam