Carbon dioxide emission
Smoke rises from a chimney of a steel plant next to residential buildings on a hazy day in Fengnan district of Tangshan, Hebei province in this February 18, 2014 file photo. Reuters/Petar Kujundzic/Files

The richest 10 percent of people produce half of the Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Oxfam. In a report released on Tuesday, the organisation revealed that the richest people have carbon footprints 11 times higher than the poorest half of the population and 60 times higher than the poorest 10 percent.

Oxfam said that only 10 percent of the total global emissions are produced by the poorest half of the global population. Meanwhile, the average footprint of the richest 1 percent produces emissions 175 times higher than the poorest 10 percent.

“Rich, high emitters should be held accountable for their emissions, no matter where they live,” said Tim Gore, climate policy head of Oxfam, the Guardian reports. “But it’s easy to forget that rapidly developing economies are also home to the majority of the world’s very poorest people and while they have to do their fair share, it is rich countries that should still lead the way.”

After comparing the average lifestyle consumption footprints of the rich and poor, the report says that emerging economies like India, Brazil and China have increasing emissions. However, the lifestyle consumption of their richest citizens are behind those of the richest in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries like Australia, U.S., Canada, Germany and France.

“While the richest citizens can and should contribute as individuals to cutting their own emissions through lifestyle changes, wherever they live, they cannot solve the climate crisis through voluntary action alone,” the report said. “Their choices are often constrained by the decisions of their governments in all sorts of areas, from energy to transport policy.”

The researchers claimed that only the elite will benefit from the inadequate climate action in Paris. They urged the governments that participated in the conference to stand up to their influence and for their citizens, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

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