The world’s richest 1 percent of people produced more greenhouse gases than the poorest 66 percent, according to a new Oxfam report examining global climate inequality. “Untaxing wealth allows the richest to steal from us, ruin our planet and distance us from democracy,” concludes the Oxfam director.
On Monday, a report by Oxfam, an organization fighting economic inequality around the world, was published. It shows that one percent of the world’s richest population in 2019 was responsible for generating more carbon dioxide than five billion peoplethat is, two-thirds of all humanity.
As the Guardian, which has been working with Oxfam for the past six months, points out, this is the most comprehensive study of global climate inequality ever conducted. It shows that the richest group consisting of 77 million people, including billionaires, millionaires and people earning over PLN 140,000. dollars per year (equivalent to approximately PLN 560,000), was responsible for 16 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The authors of the report emphasized that for an average person outside the richest one percent, it would take not one year, but 1,500 years to produce the same amount of carbon dioxide.
The victims are the poorest
“The super-rich are plundering and polluting the planet to the point of destruction, and the highest price is being paid by those who can least afford it,” says the report’s co-author, Oxfam’s senior climate justice policy advisor Chiara Liguori.
Research shows that the victims of environmental pollution are primarily people living in poverty, in marginalized ethnic communities, migrants, and women and girls who live and work outdoors or in homes exposed to extreme weather conditions. These groups of people are least likely to have savings, insurance or social protection, which puts them at greater risk from floods, droughts, heatwaves and forest fires, the Guardian notes.
Oxfam has called for taxes on the richest
In the report, Oxfam called for the introduction of high income taxes for the richest and additional taxes for companies operating in the fossil fuel industry. Additional funds would be used to support those most affected climate changereduce inequality and finance the transition to renewable energy.
Oxfam says a 60% tax on the income of the richest percent of the population would raise $6.4 trillion a year (equivalent to PLN 25.5 trillion) and could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 695 million tonnes, more than the UK’s footprint in 2019. As Oxfam International Executive Director Amitabh Behar concluded, “untaxing wealth allows the richest to steal from us, ruin our planet and distance us from democracy. Taxing extreme wealth changes our chances of tackling both inequality and the climate crisis. Trillions of dollars in investment are at stake.” into dynamic, green governance for the 21st century, but also to re-strengthen our democracies.”
The Guardian, The Washington Post
Main photo source: Shutterstock