Action needed to stop billionaires ‘plundering the planet’, Oxfam says

Billionaires around the world are “looting the planet” and putting the world in “greater danger” through climate change, activists warned.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, struck when new research showed the carbon footprint of the richest 1% of people on earth will be 30 times what is compatible, the global one, by the end of this decade Keep warming below 1.5 degrees.

The authors of a new report have urged governments to take measures to “limit luxury carbon consumption such as mega yachts, private jets and space travel”.

It comes after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made a brief voyage into space earlier this year, Sir Richard Branson took his Virgin Galactic rocket plane to the edge of space, while Elon Musk’s private space company SpaceX is developing a vehicle that humans can use Mars brings.

In order to achieve the target agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015, however, according to scientists, every person on earth would have to limit their CO2 emissions to just 2.3 tons by 2030 – around half of today’s average CO2 footprint.

A new study for Oxfam, based on research by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), found that the richest 1% of people will exceed this limit by 30 times.

This group of people – smaller than Germany’s population – is expected to account for 16% of total emissions by 2030, compared to 13% in 1990 and 15% of emissions in 2015.

Meanwhile, the total emissions of the richest 10% alone could be enough to exceed the 1.5 degree equilibrium level in 2030, regardless of what the other 90% of people do.

Livingstone said, “The luxurious lifestyles and continued plundering of the planet by the world’s richest people put us all at increasing risk.

“The emissions from a single billion dollar space flight would exceed the lifetime emissions of one of the poorest billion people on earth.

“Nobody is immune to the effects of the climate emergency, but the world’s poorest pay the highest price, despite causing the lowest emissions, when they fight floods, famine and hurricanes.”

With the new study released during the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow as countries around the world discuss how best to contain emissions, Livingstone said the massive gathering was a “moment of truth in the fight against climate change “.

He said: “World leaders must agree on ways to curb excessive emissions and limit global warming, and they must do so here and now in Glasgow. Delay costs life. “

Oxfam urges nations around the world to commit to deeper emissions cuts by 2030, but also to ensure that the richest people make the most radical cuts.

The charity argues that the wealthiest citizens could dramatically accelerate action against global warming by not only leading greener lifestyles, but also using their political influence and investments to fuel a lower-carbon economy.

Tim Gore, author of the new study and director of the IEEP’s low-carbon and circular economy program, said, “The global emissions gap to keep the Paris target of 1.5 ° C alive is not the result of most people’s consumption the world – it instead reflects the excessive emissions of only the world’s richest citizens.

“To close the emissions gap by 2030, governments must target their richest and largest emitters – the climate and inequality crisis should be tackled together.

“This includes measures to limit luxury carbon consumption such as mega yachts, private jets and space travel, as well as curbing climate-intensive investments such as stocks in the fossil fuel industry.”

However, Professor Len Shackleton of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank said, “Oxfam’s proposals are extremely dangerous as they set a precedent for governments to meddle in private activities on the basis of vague claims about harm to the planet.

“While it is hardly surprising that billionaires have a larger carbon footprint than the rest of us, it is also true that even the poorest person in Britain has a much larger footprint than a poor person in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The same flimsy reasoning could be used to forbid ordinary people from vacationing abroad, driving, bathing instead of showering or eating meat.”

He added, “This is just one more piece of anti-rich ‘research’ by a charity that would do better to stick to their original and laudable goals of poverty alleviation rather than engaging in such stunts.”

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