Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Top 1% emit double CO2 of poorest 50%



Top 1% emit double CO2 of poorest 50%

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The richest one per cent of people are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest half of the world’s population. AFP

Top 1% emit double CO2 of poorest 50%

The richest one per cent of people are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest half of the world’s population – 3.1 billion people – new research showed on Monday.

Despite a sharp decrease in carbon emissions due to the pandemic, the world remains on pace to warm several degrees this century, threatening poor and developing nations with the full gamut of natural disasters and displacements.

An analysis led by Oxfam showed that between 1990 and 2015 when annual emissions ballooned 60 per cent, that rich nations were responsible for depleting nearly a third of Earth’s carbon budget.

The carbon budget is the limit of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions mankind may produce before rendering catastrophic temperature rises unavoidably.

Just 63 million people – the “one per cent” – took up nine per cent of the carbon budget since 1990, research conducted for Oxfam by the Stockholm Environment Institute found.

Highlighting an ever-widening “carbon inequality”, the analysis said the growth rate of the one per cent’s emissions was three times that of the poorest half of humanity.

Tim Gore, head of policy, advocacy and research, said: “It’s not just that extreme economic inequality is divisive in our societies, it’s not just that it slows the rate of poverty reduction.

“But there is also a third cost which is that it depletes the carbon budget solely for the already affluent growing their consumption.

“And that, of course, has the worse impacts on the poorest and least responsible.”

The 2015 Paris climate deal commits nations to limit global temperature rise to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But emissions have continued to rise since then, and several analyses have warned that without a thoroughly re-tooled global economy prioritising green growth, the pollutions savings due to Covid-19 will have an insignificant mitigating impact on climate change.

With just 1C of warming so far, Earth is already battling more frequent and intense wildfires, droughts and superstorms rendered more powerful by rising seas.

Gore said governments must put the twin challenges of climate change and inequality at the heart of any Covid-19 recovery plan.

He said: “It’s clear that the carbon-intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity.

“It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that we have to choose between economic growth and [fixing] the climate crisis.”

Commenting on the Oxfam report, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an environment activist and president of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, said climate change could not be tackled without prioritising economic equality.

She said: “My indigenous peoples have long borne the brunt of environmental destruction.

“Now is the time to listen, to integrate our knowledge, and to prioritise saving nature to save ourselves.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement