The world’s richest people are ‘elite polluters’: the richest one percent produces DOUBLE the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50 percent, report reveals
- The report comes from the UK-based Cambridge Sustainability Commission
- It was put together by 31 experts who had to find ways to best address emissions
- The panel recommends deterring people from frequent flying and driving SUVs
- They also said that the wealthy should be encouraged to better insulate their homes
The richest percent of the world’s population produces, according to the UN, twice the CO2 emissions of the poorest 50 percent combined.
And the so-called ‘polluter elite’ of the richest 5 percent contributed to 37 percent of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015, experts have calculated.
This inequality in pollution is underscored by a recent report from the UK-based Cambridge Sustainability Commission on Scaling Behavior Change.
The document was prepared by 31 environmental impact experts tasked with exploring ways to best scale actions to tackle CO2 emissions.
Actions suggested by the panel include deterring people from flying and driving SUVs often, and convincing the wealthy to better insulate their homes.
To this end, the report urged the UK government to reintroduce air passenger rights on UK return flights and the recently canceled Green Homes Grant scheme.
The report adds to the ongoing debate about ‘equality’ in tackling climate change.
Poorer countries with smaller emission budgets – such as India – have long argued that they should be allowed to pollute more on the scale of richer countries.
The richest percent of the population produces twice the CO2 emissions of the poorest 50 percent, according to the UN. A new report aims to address frequent fliers, pictured
Critics of the report’s findings have suggested that emissions could be better reduced through technological advancements – not unpopular restrictions.
It is good to emphasize the importance of fairness in delivery [emissions cuts]Said Sam Hall, director of Conservative Environment Network BBC news
‘Policy could make it easier for people and companies to go green – through incentives, targeted regulations and nudges.’
“But encouraging clean technologies is probably more effective and more likely to receive public consent than severe penalties or lifestyle restrictions.”
“We are fully in favor of technological improvements and more efficient products, but it is clear that more drastic action is needed as emissions continue to rise,” lead author Peter Newell told BBC News.
“We need to reduce overconsumption and the best place to start is overconsumption among the polluting elites who contribute far more than their share of CO2 emissions,” added the University of Sussex’s international relations expert.
‘These are people who fly the most, drive the biggest cars and live in the biggest houses they can easily heat, so they don’t usually worry whether they are well insulated or not.’
“They’re also the kind of people who can afford good insulation and solar panels if they want to.”
Actions suggested by the panel include deterring people from flying and driving SUVs often (as pictured) – and convincing the wealthy to better insulate their homes
To combat climate change effectively, Professor Newell said, people must feel like they are part of a collective effort – meaning the rich and super rich must consume less to set an example for those less fortunate.
“Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions through tree planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air,” Professor Newell told the BBC.
“But these schemes are highly controversial and they are not proven over time.”
According to Professor Newell, wealthy individuals and companies are currently well placed to lobby against any action to combat climate change that could affect the lifestyles of the wealthy.
However, he added that the wealthy, he added, “should just fly less and drive less.”
“Even if they have an electric SUV, it’s still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions that the vehicle creates in the first place.”
The full report is published on the Website of the Rapid Transition Alliance
THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL AGREEMENT TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISKS THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS
First signed in 2015, the Paris Agreement is an international agreement to control and mitigate climate change.
It hopes to keep the rise in the Earth’s average temperature below 2 ° C (3.6 ° F) ‘and make efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F)’.
It seems that the more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research that claims 25 percent of the world will see a significant increase in could see drier conditions.
In June 2017, President Trump announced his intention to have the US, the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases, withdraw from the agreement.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals in terms of reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the global average temperature rise well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels
2) Aim to limit the rise to 1.5 ° C as this would significantly reduce the risks and consequences of climate change
3) Governments agreed that global emissions should peak as soon as possible, recognizing that it will take longer for developing countries
4) Make rapid reductions afterwards in accordance with the best available science