Rich man in pool

If you had a sneaking suspicion that the richest people in the world are driving climate change, while the poorest suffer the greatest consequences, you’d be right.

The trends show that with more riches come higher emissions, as wealth drives changes in travel, diets, cars, and lifestyle choices. Meanwhile developing nations are being hit the hardest and have little capacity to adapt.

But it’s more complex than you might think, Bloomberg reveals.

We know that underpinning global climate politics is a debate around wealth and responsibility. The richest countries (Australia included) got our slice of the pie by spewing out greenhouse gas emissions. Why shouldn’t developing nations have the right to follow suit? 

Research from the World Inequality Lab, led by the Paris School of Economics and University of California at Berkeley, has found that after decades of unequal distribution of the profits of globalisation, it turns out that personal wealth does more than national wealth to explain the sources of emissions. 

The richest 1 per cent – and by this we mean anyone who earns more than $US109,000 a year (more than 60 million people globally) are winning the race of fastest-growing emissions. In fact, they emit about 70 times as much carbon as the bottom 50 per cent. 

The authors of the article hit the nail on the head when they write that fixing this alarming statistic requires significantly “changing social norms”. 

You might want to give it a read.

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