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Climate inequality: latest findings

'The Great Carbon Divide' is a result of a special investigation by Oxfam, the Stockholm Environment Institute, and the Guardian.


It explored the causes and consequences of carbon inequality and the disproportionate impact of super-rich individuals, who have been termed “the polluter elite”.


Their findings are the following:


  • The richest 1% of humanity is responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66% (5 billion people), with dire consequences for vulnerable communities and global efforts to tackle the climate emergency.


  • The emissions from the 1% alone would be enough to cause the heat-related deaths of 1.3 million people over the coming decades.


  • A tax of 60% on the incomes of the super-rich 1% of earners globally would cut the carbon equivalent of more than the total emissions of the UK and raise US$6.4 trillion to fund renewable energy and a transition away from fossil fuels.


  • It would take about 1,500 years for someone in the bottom 99% to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires do in a year.


Oxfam concluded that:


'Only a radical reduction in inequality, transformative climate action and fundamentally shifting our economic goals as a society can save our planet while ensuring wellbeing for all.'

Climate justice will be high on the agenda of COP28 - let's hope we will see some much-needed progress there.



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