Sep 23, 2020 03:10 PM

World’s Richest Create Twice the Carbon Emissions of Poorest 50%, Study Finds

What’s new: The richest 1% of people in the world were responsible for more than double the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions compared to the poorest 50% between 1990 and 2015, new research has shown.

Although carbon dioxide emissions increased by 60% during the quarter-century period, the rise in emissions from the wealthiest 1% of the population was three times greater than the poorest half, according to a report published Monday by the charity group Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

What else: The study said high consumption and developed countries’ widespread use of carbon-emitting transport are exhausting the world’s carbon budget — the amount of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere while maintaining a certain temperature range.

Exceeding the carbon budget increases the risk of accelerating global heating and climate change. In an online statement, Oxfam called on governments to confront both wealth inequality and the climate crisis by targeting “the excessive emissions of the richest” and investing in poor and vulnerable communities.

“The overconsumption of a wealthy minority is fueling the climate crisis, yet it is poor communities and young people who are paying the price,” said Tim Gore, Oxfam’s head of climate policy and the report’s author. “Such extreme carbon inequality is a direct consequence of our governments’ decades-long pursuit of grossly unequal and carbon intensive economic growth.”

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh ( and editor Marcus Ryder (

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