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Why this matters: While the wealthiest indulge in luxuries that contribute more to climate change, a federal report found that the poor will be among the earliest victims of climate crises and will be impacted the most. There is also structural inequality when it comes to solutions. “Better-resourced communities have created climate offices and programs, while the response has lagged in smaller or poorer communities,” the report explained, causing “green gentrification” in which poorer residents are pushed out of the protective range of these programs. Thus, the poorest communities — which are generally Black or brown — will be left without the resources to combat climate disasters fueled by the wealthy.
According to the Guardian, the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000 annually. Researchers at the University of Leeds found that as income level rises, demand for high intensity, luxury goods increase as well. These goods include long-distance travel by air, prompting proposals for a carbon tax on frequent flyers. The list also includes new vehicles, vehicle fuel, and extra household appliances. In recent years, SUV’s have become the most popular vehicle in the United States; SUV’s are popular among the wealthy, consume more gas than compact cars, and were the second largest contributor to rising global carbon emissions between 2010 and 2018. As opposed to amenities like water and heat which are considered high intensity yet basic amenities, these luxuries cause vast amounts of CO2 emissions at the expense of those who cannot afford them.
Climate experts say we may have less than 17 years before we’ve exhausted our “carbon budget” and the global average temperature reaches 2 degrees Celsius, leading to a severe rise in natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, drought, and a rise in global poverty levels. Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam’s chief executive in the United Kingdom, said of the study, “The over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling the climate crisis and putting the planet in peril. No one is immune from the impact but the world’s poorest are paying the heaviest price despite contributing least emissions as they battle floods, famines and cyclones.”
By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]
Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is […]
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