World’s richest 1% cause more carbon emissions than poorest 66%, shocking climate study reveals

The richest 1% of the global population are responsible for the same amount of carbon emissions as the world’s poorest two-thirds, or five billion people, according to an analysis published on Sunday, November 19, by the nonprofit Oxfam International.

The most comprehensive study of global climate inequality ever undertaken shows that this elite group, made up of 77 million people accounted for 16% of all CO2 emissions in 2019 or 5.9bn tonnes, which is enough to cause more than a million excess deaths due to heat, according to the report.

The report emphasizes that the suffering falls disproportionately upon people living in poverty, marginalised ethnic communities, migrants and women and girls, who live and work outside or in homes vulnerable to extreme weather. These groups are less likely to have savings, insurance or social protection, which leaves them more economically, as well as physically, at risk from floods, drought, heatwaves and forest fires.

The UN says developing countries account for 91% of deaths related to extreme weather.

The report finds that it would take about 1,500 years for someone in the bottom 99% to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires do in a year.

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