Oxfam has released a new report, “Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%”, revealing that “The richest one per cent of the world’s population produced as much carbon pollution in 2019 as the five billion people who made up the poorest two-thirds of humanity.”
While fighting the climate crisis is a shared challenge, not everyone is equally responsible and government policies must be tailored accordingly, Max Lawson, who co-authored the report, told AFP.
“The richer you are, the easier it is to cut both your personal and your investment emissions,” he said. “You don’t need that third car, or that fourth holiday, or you don’t need to be invested in the cement industry.”
Among the key findings of this study are that the richest one percent globally—77 million people—were responsible for 16 percent of global emissions related to their consumption.
That is the same share as the bottom 66 percent of the global population by income, or 5.11 billion people.
The difference in recent floodings in Germany and Pakistan unveils how a country’s wealth can “enable or hinder its ability to respond to a climate emergency”.
German floods affected a population of 40,000 people, resulting in damage and economic costs of 40 billion dollars. They were able to mobilise funding through federal and state government flood relief funds for reconstruction of 35 billion dollars within weeks.
On the contrary, Pakistan floods affected a population of 33 million people, leading to damage and economic costs of 30 billion dollars. International donors pledged a funding of 8.57 billion dollars as of January 2023 for the next three years.
While Germany could easily manage the financial and technical resources required, debt-troddened Pakistan was unable to allocate the necessary resources resulting in suffering from “the lasting impacts of the floods”.
The report explains that this comparison between the two countries shows “a common double standard practised by many Global North countries: they rapidly find the funds needed when disasters hit within their borders, but fail to do so when they occur in the Global South”.