A study by Oxfam: the richest on the planet should reduce emissions by 97% by 2030. A space flight pollutes as much as 1 billion poor people
A new report launched by the NGO Oxfam during the works of Cop26 report how in 2030 the CO2 emissions produced by the richest 1% of humanity will be 30 times higher than sustainable to contain the rise in global temperatures to within 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era.
The emissions of the poorest 50%, on the other hand, are destined to remain well below the warning threshold. Without a radical change of direction in less than 10 years the emissions produced by the richest 10% will take us to the point of no return regardless of what the remaining 90% of humanity will do.
Oxfam’s report, in collaboration with the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), captures a very alarming scenario. The study estimates how the commitments that will be made by governments will affect the carbon footprint of the richest and poorest people around the world, noting how to hit the goal of containing the increase in temperatures by 1.5 ° C, every person on the planet by 2030 should be responsible for the emission of just 2.3 tons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere, which is about half of what it is today.
The reality is that there are abnormal imbalances on Earth and the pollution rate is inversely proportional to that of poverty. By 2030, the dossier estimates, the levels of emissions produced by the poorest half of the planet will still be far below what is sustainable to limit the increase in temperatures to within 1.5 ° C; while the richest 1% in the world will exceed the guard threshold by as much as 30 times and the richest 10% by 9 times. So to hit the crucial 1.5 ° target, the richest 1% would have to reduce their emissions by 97% compared to today.
However, the report also highlights some positive aspects. After the Paris agreements, 40% of the world’s population is already on the way to achieving a cut in per capita emissions of 9% between 2015 and 2030. A figure that would represent a turning point, considering that it is in most of citizens of middle-income countries such as China and South Africa, which between 1990 and 2015 recorded the fastest increases in per capita emissions.
Looking at total global emissions, rather than per capita emissions, the study estimates that the richest 1% – 80 million people, just under the German population – will be responsible for as much as 16% of global emissions in less than 10 years, while in 1990 it represented 13% of the total and in 2015 15%. Going forward on the path taken up to now, therefore in 2030 the total emissions for which the richest 10% in the world will be responsible alone will exceed the quota of tolerable emissions to avoid the increase in temperatures above 1.5 ° C , regardless of what the remaining 90% of humanity will do.
A single space flight – the new trend among the super-rich – pollutes as much as the poorest billion people in the world. “We live in a world where a very small elite seems to be allowed to pollute without limits, fueling increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather conditions and events,” said Nafkote Dabi, Oxfam’s Climate Policy Lead. Emissions from the richest 10% alone could push us towards a tipping point on controlling global warming. And to pay the highest price, once again, will be the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet, who, due to the impact of climate change, are already facing increasingly out of control climatic events, hunger, famine and misery ».
The geography of inequality in the production of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere is also destined to change, because more and more citizens of middle-income countries will contribute to the share produced by the richest 1 and 10%. By 2030, Chinese citizens will be responsible for almost a quarter (23%) of the emissions produced by the top 1%, US citizens for almost a fifth (19%) and Indian citizens for a tenth (11%). «Effective and targeted measures are needed to limit the emissions of the richest people on the planet, which derive from the use of mega yachts, private jets and space travel; curb climate-intensive investments such as holdings in fossil fuel industries. – concludes Tim Gore, author of the report and head of the Low Carbon and Circular Economy program at the IEEP.