The world’s richest 10 percent of the people are responsible for around 50 percent of global carbon emissions, said a study by Oxfam.
The report, titled ‘Extreme Carbon Inequality: Why the Paris Climate deal must put the poorest, lowest emitting and most vulnerable people first’, was released at a time when global leaders have met in Paris for the crucial UN Climate Change Conference.
“The poorest half of the global population are responsible for only around 10 percent of global emissions, yet live overwhelmingly in the countries most vulnerable to climate change – while the richest 10 percent of people are responsible for around 50 percent of global emissions,” the report said.
Climate change is “inextricably linked to economic inequality”, it said, adding that, “it is a crisis that is driven by the greenhouse gas emissions of the ‘haves’ that hits the ‘have-nots’ the hardest”.
“Governments in Paris need to stand up to their influence, and stand up for their citizens – the poorest, lowest emitting and most vulnerable among them first and foremost – if Paris is to deliver an agreement for those who need it most,” said the study that was released on Wednesday.
While CoP 21 in Paris will see a deal negotiated between governments on the basis of the total emissions produced in their territories, “the real winners and losers will be their citizens”, the study added.
Comparing the average lifestyle consumption footprints of richer and poorer citizens in a range of countries, the study says that “some emerging economies like China, India, Brazil and South Africa have high and rapidly rising emissions”.
The lifestyle consumption emissions of even these countries’ richest citizens remain some way behind that of their counterparts in rich OECD nations – an international economic organisation of 34 nations which includes US, Britain, Canada and others, it added.