Development organization Oxfam is sounding the alarm: the rich cause significantly more CO2 emissions than poorer people. The differences are even more serious than expected.

According to a report, the richest percent of the world’s population puts more than twice as many climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere as the poorer half of humanity put together. This comes from a report that the development organization Oxfam starts on Tuesday of the 75 before the general debate.

UN General Assembly in New York published. Oxfam called on the rich to reduce CO2 consumption, invest more in public infrastructure and rebuild the economy in a climate-friendly way.

The report focuses on the years 1990 to 2015, which are important for climate policy, and in which emissions worldwide have doubled. The richest ten percent (630 million) was responsible for more than half (52 percent) of CO2 emissions during the period, Oxfam reported. The richest one percent (63 million) alone consumed 15 percent, while the poorer half of the world’s population accounted for only seven percent.

“Responsible is the policy of consumption incentives”

The catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt in many places. “Responsible for this is a policy based on incentives for consumption that promises constant growth and divides the world economically into winners and losers,” said Ellen Ehmke, expert on social inequality at Oxfam Germany. “The poorest pay the price for the consumption of a wealthy minority.”

In Germany, according to Oxfam, the richest ten percent or 8.3 million people are responsible for 26 percent of German CO2 emissions in the period studied.

SUVs are particularly critical

With 41.5 million people, the poorer half of the German population, five times the size, consumed only slightly more at 29 percent. A lever in the fight against climate change is traffic, especially air traffic. Oxfam is particularly critical of the urban SUVs, which were the second-largest emissions driver between 2010 and 2018.

“We have to solve the climate and inequality crises together,” says Ehmke. The excessive use of CO2 by the richest is at the expense of everyone and must be limited. “Taxes on climate-damaging SUVs and frequent flying would be a first step.”

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