Oxfam has announced that the richest 1 percent of the world’s population, which is approximately 77 million people, produced as much carbon pollution in 2019 as the poorest 5 billion people, who make up two-thirds of humanity. This information is contained in a report titled “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%” that will be published on the eve of the United Nations climate summit in Dubai.
The report, which was created in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), assesses consumption emissions of different income groups in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. According to Oxfam Belgium, the report shows a deep gap between the carbon footprint of the super-rich and the majority of people around the world. The richest 10 percent were reportedly responsible for half of CO₂ emissions. Each year, the emissions of the richest 1 percent would wipe out the carbon dioxide savings of nearly a million wind turbines.
Amitabh Behar, interim director of Oxfam International, stated that it is clearer than ever that ending extreme wealth is necessary to end fossil fuels and save millions of lives and our planet. He said this at the time of the report’s release. Because people in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, this gap between rich and poor is only widening due to climate change’s impact on equality between and within countries.
According to SEI’s research survey conducted among 20 billionaires worldwide, each person emits an average of about 8,194 tons of greenhouse gases per year, with approximately half being carbon dioxide emissions alone. On average, individuals from low-income backgrounds emit only about 4.1 tons per year with only around one-fifth being carbon dioxide emissions. It means that wealthy individuals emit almost twenty times more than those living below average income levels globally when considering their carbon footprint per capita alone without accounting for their wealth or resources they have access to reduce their impact on environment.