According to Oxfam Intermón, the richest 1% of the population emitted twice as many greenhouse gases as the poorest 50%.

The richest consumers

The Richest 1% of the world’s population (63 million people) is responsible for more than twice the pollutant emissions into the atmosphere than the poorer half of the planet (3.1 billion) between 1990 and 2015, according to a report by the international organization Oxfam Intermón published this Monday.

Oxfam Intermon highlights in the report ‘Combating carbon inequality’ that the two groups most affected for this imbalance they are the least responsible of the climate crisis, that is, the poorest people and those most at risk of exclusion and future generations.

The document is published in eve of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to study the global situation, including the climate emergency, and urges governments to take advantage of the pandemic recovery plans to adopt measures that favor the reduction of emissions and socio-economic inequalities of the world population.

The study carried out jointly with the Stockholm Environment Institute, reveals that in a correlation of the level of emissions and economic income, the richest 10% (630 million people) are responsible for more than half (52%) of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere.

The Oxfam Intermón climate change spokesperson, Paula San Pedro, explained to the Efe agency that the richest consumers “are found in the United States and Europe “, which dismantles the theory of recent years that has focused the responsibility for the increase in emissions on the growing consumption of the middle class in China and India.

The myth of China and India

In both Asian countries, millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and this translates into an increase in carbon emissions, however, “emissions linked to the consumption of the richest in Europe and the US has continued to grow ”.

And the highest percentage of emissions of this richest percentage “is concentrated in any transport mechanism, from private jets to a sports car, although it is surprising ”, according to San Pedro.

The research assesses the carbon emissions resulting from consumption with economic income between 1990 and 2015, “The 25 years in which humanity doubled the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere” compared to the period 1890-1990.

The study further notes that the Richest 10% squandered a third of the global carbon budget remaining to keep the planet’s temperature below 1.5 degrees – as recommended by scientists – compared to 4% of the poorest half of the world’s population.

The carbon budget is the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted into the atmosphere without causing global warming to exceed 1.5 degrees. If the emissions of the richest 10% of the population continue at the same rate, “the carbon budget it will be sold out in 2030 ″, according to the OI spokeswoman.

The previous normality does not work

For this reason, at this time when recovery plans are being studied, “it is essential that this message gets through, it does not serve to return to the previous normality in which neoliberal policies have favored a few, the richest, and have created this climate tension “.

“The emissions map shows that carbon consumption has served to enrich a few and not to lift people out of poverty. This model has expired and it is urgent to start a new one ”, assures San Pedro.

“Recovery has to take these variables into account,” he argues, because the variables show “greater inequality, with 55% of the world population with less than $ 5.5 a day, which is the poverty threshold and where that gap between rich and poor is increasing ”.

Any plan has to take into account these considerations and to these populations “most vulnerable and marginalized, that of course there are in Spain “, and place them “at the heart of your climate transition.”

“Recovery policies must ensure that the just transition leaves no one behind,” according to San Pedro, who stresses that women who head families, they are between 30 and 120% more likely to fall into energy poverty, than a man.

However, there is the fear of a rebound again as soon as prevention measures are relaxed to avoid the spread of the contagion of the coronavirus that causes the pandemic.