According to a new scientific study, the total carbon footprint from the living standards and activities of the richest people on the planet will increase dramatically from 1%, while 50% of the poorest segments of the population will be hit by this.
It is estimated that the world’s richest people will pollute the planet 30 times more than they should to stop global warming to 1.5 ° C, according to climate targets. Meanwhile, these poorer 50% of the world’s population, who are much less responsible for the climate crisis, will be most affected by it.
The study, carried out by two European environmental organizations, was presented during the meeting of the leaders of the countries at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
“It seems like a tiny elite can freely pollute the environment,” said Naftoke Dhabi Ohfam, who commissioned the study from the Stockholm Environment Institute and the European Institute for Environmental Policy. “Their excessive emissions are causing extreme weather conditions around the world and jeopardizing the international goal of reducing global warming.”
Dhabi says governments need to do more by banning and taxing “high-carbon luxury goods such as airplanes, SUVs or space tourism.” “We have to deal with the emissions of the richest because they are largely responsible for the climate crisis, and the poorest pay the highest price for it,” he added.
Climatologists warn that there is a limited amount of greenhouse gases that we can continue to release into the atmosphere before the planet’s temperature rises above 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.
From October 31 to November 12, Glasgow hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It is held every year (with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) to agree on the positions of countries on the issue of climate change, develop rules for further work, and also tell about new goals and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Poverty reduction and sustainable development remain top priorities for the global community. A quarter of the population in developing countries still lives on less than US $ 1.25 a day. A billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 1.6 billion live without electricity, and 3 billion lack adequate sanitation. A quarter of all children in developing countries suffer from wasting. Meeting these needs should remain the main focus of developing countries and development assistance, given that climate change will not facilitate but only complicate the development process.
The challenges of climate change need to be urgently addressed.
Climate change poses a threat to all countries, but developing countries are the most vulnerable in this case. It is estimated that they will account for about 75–80 per cent of the cost of damage caused by a changing climate. Warming as little as 2 ° C above pre-industrial temperatures — and this is likely the smallest temperature increase that will occur in the world — could lead to a 4–5 percent decline in GDP per year in Africa and South Asia. Most developing countries lack the financial and technical capacity to manage the growing risks of climate change. In addition, their income and well-being are more directly dependent on natural resources, which are strongly influenced by climatic conditions. Moreover, most of them are located in tropical and subtropical regions, already experiencing the impact of highly variable
Economic growth on its own is unlikely to be fast and steady enough to counter the threats posed by climate change, especially if it remains a carbon-intensive process that accelerates global warming. Therefore, climate policy should not be based on a choice between economic growth and climate change.
Indeed, smart climate policies are those that promote development, reduce vulnerability, and provide financing for the transition to low-carbon growth.