Fat cats, living high on the hog.

Big Carbon

As some climatologists fret over the morality of flying on an airplane, the richest among us haven't curbed their lifestyle due to any climate change concerns — and are actually spending far more on luxuries than usual lately.

Putting this in particularly stark climate terms, a new study from Oxfam confirms that the richest 1 percent of the world had the same carbon footprint in 2019 as the poorest 66 percent, or the equivalent of 5 billion people.

For perspective, 59.4 million people in the world have a net worth of over $1 million, but the top 1 percent are worth over $11 million — a minuscule proportion of the ultra-elite that’s responsible for an obscene amount of the planet’s impending global warming doom.

"This report from Oxfam makes it glaringly clear: these are not separate issues," said climate activist Greta Thunberg in the foreword of the Oxfam study. "Climate breakdown and inequality are linked together and fuel each other. If we are to overcome one, we must overcome both."

Yeet the Rich

The study, jointly conducted with the Stockholm Environment Institute, also found that the 1 percent are responsible for so many emissions that any carbon savings from off-shore wind turbines is moot, among other sobering facts.

What’s glaring in the data and testimony in the report is that while the rich are responsible for an outsize share of carbon emissions, it’s the poorest who will suffer most from the detrimental impact of climate change. For example, global warming will impact the availability of food and potable water — whose scarcity will hurt the poor, while the rich can just pay extra for those necessities.

To change this dynamic, the Oxfam report calls for a tax on wealthy individuals and corporations, with proceeds going towards the Global South that would fund an energy transition and help ameliorate adverse effects of climate change on the poor.

The study says that a 60 percent income tax on the 1 percent would able to reduce emissions at more than the total carbon emissions of the United Kingdom and generate an annual figure of $6.4 trillion for a robust energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Would a climate tax on the wealthy have a snowball’s chance in hell of happening? With stories of rich people trying to hide their wealth in off-shore accounts, most likely not. But perhaps this sobering report would make them think twice about flying off to Majorca in a private jet.

More on climate change: Exxon is Trying to Find the Guy Who Did Climate Change

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