The 10% wealthiest population is key to reach net zero, expert suggests


To mitigate the climate crisis, limit carbon footprint has become a primary mission for the globe. According to a study, wealthy people’s carbon footprints is gradually increasing, accounted for a larger proportion of global emissions.

In 2010, the world's wealthiest 10% of households released 34% of global carbon dioxide, while the other 50% of the population in lower income groups accounted for only 15%. By 2015, the richest 10% of the world's population were responsible for 49% of emissions, compared to 7% by the poorest half of the population.

Aimee Ambrose, professor of energy policy at Sheffield Hallam University published her study in the journal Science Direct, stating that reducing the carbon footprint of the wealthiest people may be the quickest approach to reach net zero.

With regard to energy demand in the UK, the poorest half of the population consumes less than 20% of total consumption, which is less than the amount the top 5% consumes. High consumers are likely to have more room to heat, even if their homes are more energy efficient.

According to Ambrose, those on middle to low incomes are expected to cut their carbon use by staycation, and using less gasoline as a result of the economic downturn. Those who consume the most, on the other hand, are unlikely to be forced to make such changes.

“In many ways, the wealthy are largely protected from the rise in energy prices,” Ambrose added. “However, reducing excessive personal consumption is not on the government's agenda. This is bad news for the environment and our chances of achieving net zero energy.”

Ambrose called the policy neglect of high consumers a “lost chance” to address inequality and carbon reduction opportunities.

According to Ambrose’s analyses, high consumption and big carbon footprints are spatially concentrated in high-income cities and suburbs, while negative effects like air pollution generally spill over into less affluent areas.

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