Increase In Rich World`s Emissions Exhausts World`s Carbon Budget

Despite being the smallest percentage of the world`s population, the wealthiest are responsible for the greatest increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

World's richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam
Sprinklers in the street in Baghdad, Iraq/Picture credit: The Guardian

Despite being the smallest percentage of the world`s population, the wealthiest are responsible for the greatest increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

New research has revealed that from 1990 to 2015, the wealthiest 1% contributed more than twice to the high increase in carbon dioxide emissions as compared to the poorer half of the world.

The world has seen a high increase in emissions of 60% over the 25-year period, but the richest 1% increased emissions three times greater than the poorest half.

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Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute compiled a report which warns against the unlimited overconsumption and the rich world`s excessive use of high-carbon transport, which is exhausting the world`s “carbon budget”.

The head of policy, advocacy and research at Oxfam International, Tim Gore, said: “The global carbon budget has been squandered to expand the consumption of the already rich, rather than to improve humanity. A finite amount of carbon can be added to the atmosphere if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We need to ensure that carbon is used for the best.”

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Scientists have warned that the rampant overconsumption and carbon emissions of the world`s richest 10% would accumulate in the atmosphere, causing heating and temperature rises of more than 1.5C and causing widespread harm to natural systems.

Even if the whole of the rest of the world lowers their emissions to zero, the high current emission levels of the richer population could still increase temperatures by 1.5C  in the next decade.

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