Oxfam International has released a report that highlights the staggering disparity between the carbon footprint of the world’s richest 1 percent and the majority of people around the globe. The report, titled ‘Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%,’ was produced in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and assessed consumption emissions of different income groups in 2019.
The findings of this report reveal that while only 77 million people make up the richest 1 percent of the world’s population, they were responsible for producing as much carbon pollution as 5 billion people, who are among the poorest in the world. This underscores the urgent need to address extreme wealth inequality to effectively combat climate change.
Amitabh Behar, interim director of Oxfam International, emphasized that ending the age of fossil fuels is impossible without also ending an era of extreme wealth. The super-rich are responsible for half of all CO₂ emissions, while emissions from just one percent of this group could negate carbon dioxide savings made by nearly a million wind turbines.
The report also reveals how climate change is exacerbating inequality both within and between countries, particularly affecting those in developing nations. For instance, Oxfam calculated that implementing a 60 percent tax on the income of just one percent of global wealth could significantly reduce CO₂ emissions and generate substantial funds to support renewable energy transitions in these regions.