Despite being those who suffer the most from the consequences of extreme events linked to climate change, such as droughts and storms, the 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet's population only generate 10% of global emissions world.
This is one of the conclusions of a study that Oxfam published last December and that shows that the richest 10% of the population is responsible for about 50% of global emissions.
The report (link is external), called "the extreme inequality of carbon emissions", offers new estimates on the level of emissions derived from the consumption habits of rich and poor citizens of different countries.
Although emissions are increasing rapidly in developing countries, it is observed that a large part is derived from the production of goods that are consumed in other countries, which means that the emissions associated with the consumption habits of the vast majority of citizens of these countries is still much lower than that of their counterparts in developed countries.
For example, the report reveals that the average carbon footprint of the richest 1% of the world's population is 175 times that of the poorest 10% and that the total carbon footprint of the poorest half of the Chinese population (more than 600 million people) is equivalent to just a third of that of the richest 10% of the US population (approximately 30 million people).
"The richest and largest emitters must be held accountable for the emissions they generate, no matter where they live. It is easy to forget that the fastest developing economies are also home to most of the world's poorest people and that, Although they must also contribute fairly by reducing their emissions, it is the rich countries that must take on higher reduction targets, "said Tim Gore, Oxfam's food and climate policy expert.
According to a recent World Bank report, the poorest people are often the most vulnerable and least prepared to cope with the effects of climate change no matter where they live. Droughts, floods and storms have equally hit countries like the United States and the Philippines. In addition, women, especially those who live in rural communities, are those who are in a situation of greater risk since, habitually, they depend on agriculture and lack other alternatives to earn a living ...