Monday, September 21, 2020

Climate Change: Climate injustice

Who's causing our skyrocketing emissions? As with most of our other problems, It's the rich:

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half.


“The global carbon budget has been squandered to expand the consumption of the already rich, rather than to improve humanity,” he told the Guardian. “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.”

The richest 10% of the global population, comprising about 630 million people, were responsible for about 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period, the study showed.

When it comes to a question of improving life for the poor, or enabling the 1% to take frivolous holidays, the answer is a no-brainer. Which is why we need policies like frequent flyer taxes and SUV tariffs to crack down on this conspicuous and destructive over-consumption. We simply shouldn't allow the rich to burn the planet for their own entertainment.

But this also shows the obligation on those of us in the global 10% - which includes most middle-class kiwis - to do what we can to limit our emissions, and to lobby our governments to enact strict policies and strong emissions cuts. We are responsible for this problem. Therefore we have a responsibility to help solve it.