The richest one percent of the world’s population produces as much carbon pollution as the five billion people who make up the poorest two-thirds of humanity, according to a new study.
Oxfam International analyzed 2019 data and revealed the findings on pollution in a report published on Nov. 20.
The carbon emissions from the globe’s top one percent are enough to cause 1.3 million excess deaths due to heat, concluded the report, which comes just a week before the United Nations climate summit in Dubai.
Dubbed COP, which stands for Conference of the Parties, the conference brings together many of world’s richest individuals — the collective indicted in the Oxfam report — who flock to the annual event in private jets, drawing the scorn of environmental activists.
“The super-rich are plundering and polluting the planet to the point of destruction, leaving humanity choking on extreme heat, floods and drought,” Oxfam International interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar said.
The report’s findings include the following key facts:
- The richest 1 percent (77 million people) were responsible for 16 percent of global consumption emissions in 2019 —more than all car and road transport emissions. The richest 10 percent accounted for half (50 percent) of emissions.
- It would take about 1,500 years for someone in the bottom 99 percent to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires do in a year.
- Every year, the emissions of the richest 1 percent cancel out the carbon savings coming from nearly one million wind turbines.
- Since the 1990s, the richest 1 percent have used up twice as much of the carbon we have left to burn without increasing global temperatures above the safe limit of 1.5°C than the poorest half of humanity.
- The carbon emissions of richest 1 percent are set to be 22 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement in 2030.
“For years we’ve fought to end the era of fossil fuels to save millions of lives and our planet. It’s clearer than ever this will be impossible until we, too, end the era of extreme wealth,” said Behar.