The carbon emissions of the wealthy will cause 1.3 million heat-related excess deaths, according to a new study
The richest 1% of the world’s population produced more carbon pollution in 2019 than the poorest 66%, anti-poverty charity Oxfam has revealed. It is the most recent year for which data is available, according to a report released on Monday.
The research showed that the group of about 77 million people, including billionaires, millionaires, and those paid more than $140,000 a year, were responsible for 16% of global consumption emissions in 2019, which is more than all car and road transport emissions, Oxfam claimed.
Their outsized emissions will cause 1.3 million heat-related excess deaths, roughly equivalent to the population of Dublin, Ireland, the report says. Most of these deaths will occur between 2020 and 2030, it adds.
“The super-rich are plundering and polluting the planet to the point of destruction, leaving humanity choking on extreme heat, floods and drought,” said Amitabh Behar, Oxfam International interim Executive Director.
“For years we’ve fought to end the era of fossil fuels to save millions of lives and our planet. It’s clearer than ever this will be impossible until we, too, end the era of extreme wealth,” Behar noted.
The report indicated that 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 calculated that a 60% tax on the incomes of the richest 1% would cut emissions by more than the total emissions of the UK and raise $6.4 trillion a year to pay for the green energy transition.
“Not taxing wealth allows the richest to rob from us, ruin our planet… Taxing extreme wealth transforms our chances to tackle both inequality and the climate crisis,” Behar concluded.
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