Climate ChangeEnvironment

Greenhouse gases, in Europe the richest 10% pollute 6 times more than the poorest 50%

Greenhouse gases per capita of the 1 percentile global have increased since 1990, those of those with low and medium incomes within rich countries have decreased

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – All human beings contribute to climate change, but not in the same way”. Who has less pollutes less. With more than evident differences between poor countries and countries with advanced economies and between the different segments of the population within the same country. In other words: inequalities and climate change travel hand in hand. This is stated by a new study published in Nature Sustainability that analyzes individual greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2019, managing to separate data according to income, wealth, emissions for consumption or investment.

How has the situation changed in the last 30 years? Is climate justice more or less urgent than it once was? The answer is clear: inequalities in the distribution of greenhouse gases increase, just as total emissions have increased. In 2019, the lower 50% of the world’s population issued 12% of global emissions, while the upper 10% alone issued 48% of the total. If you look at the figures since 1990, the lower 50% of the world’s population has been responsible for only 16% of all emissions, while the upper 1% has been responsible for 23% of the total. But it is the first group to pay the highest price, often.

Read also Greenhouse gases, in Europe the richest 10% pollutes 6 times more than the poorest 50%

Indeed, while emissions per capita of the first global percentile have increased since 1990, emissions from low- and middle-income groups within rich countries have decreased. On closer inspection, this dynamic has greatly changed the framework within which climate justice must move. At one time, inequality was mainly between one country and another, and each of them was quite homogeneous within it. The opposite is happening today: 63% of global inequality in individual emissions is due to a gap between low and high-income groups within the same countries.

An example. According to the study, in 2019 in Europe the richest 10% produced 29.4 tCO2e per person, which is three times as much greenhouse gases produced by 40% of the population with average income (10.7 tCO2e) and 6 times more than 50% poorer (5.1 tCO2e). More unequal than Europe is East Asia, where the gap between the middle class and rich is 5 times (7.9 against 40 tCO2e), while North America has similar proportions although absolute values of higher greenhouse gases (about double).

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