The Oxfam report has revealed that the richest 1 percent of humanity is responsible for more carbon emissions than 66% of the poorer, causing immense suffering to vulnerable communities and hindering global efforts to address the climate emergency. According to the study, this elite group, composed of 77 million people including billionaires, millionaires and people paid more than $140,000 a year, accounted for 16 percent of all CO2 emissions worldwide in 2019 – enough to cause more than a million additional heat-related deaths.
The report calculates that emissions of just 1 percent would be enough to cause the related deaths of 1.3 million people over the next few decades. Furthermore, over the period from 1990 to 2019, the accumulated emissions of 1 percent were equivalent to wiping out last year’s crops of European corn, US wheat, Bangladesh e Chinese soybean. The research shows that suffering falls disproportionately on people living in poverty, marginalized ethnic communities, migrants and women and girls who live and work outside or in homes vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.
These groups are less likely to have savings, insurance or social protection, putting them at greater risk both economically and physically from floods, droughts, heat waves and forest fires. The UN states that developing countries account for 91% deaths related to extreme weather. Moreover, it would take about 15 years for someone in the bottom 99% of the population to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires produce in a year.