The super-rich are emitting greenhouse gases at a level equivalent to the whole of France from their carbon-intensive business investment, according to an analysis published at the opening of UN climate talks Cop27. in Egypt.
Examining the carbon impact of the investments of 125 billionaires, the research found that they have a collective stake of $2.4 trillion in 183 companies. On average, each billionaire’s investment emissions generated 3 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. One million times more than the average emissions of 2.76 tons of carbon dioxide for those living in the bottom 90% of income earners. Altogether, the 125 rich nations’ members emit 393 million tons of carbon dioxide a year – the same as France, which has a population of 67 million.
The Oxfam report He advocated regulating the investments of the wealthy and imposing a wealth tax with a high rate of increase in investments in polluting industries.
Danny Sriskandragah, CEO of Oxfam GB, said: “We need policeman 27 To expose and change the role that big business and their rich investors play in profiting from the pollution driving the global climate crisis. It is people in low-income countries who have done the least to cause this to suffer the most – as we are seeing with the devastating droughts in East Africa and the catastrophic floods in Pakistan.”
Investments were in the consumer industry, energy and materials, with an average of 14% of their investment in polluting industries, such as fossil fuels and cement. There was only one renewable energy company in the sample. Studies show that 50-70% of emissions are from the ultra-rich come from their investment.
The researchers made the calculations by starting with a list of 220 of the world’s richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire List as of August 2022. They worked with a data provider to determine the percentage of each company owned by billionaires and Scope 1 and 2 emissions from these companies. The researchers used Bloomberg’s analysis of a breakdown of the sources of billionaires’ wealth to calculate the percentage of each company owned by billionaires. They excluded billionaires who have less than 10% of the business stake. The research was limited because it was based on data published by the companies themselves, which is often not externally verified.
“Each of these billionaires would have to circumnavigate the world nearly 16 million times on a private jet to create the same emissions,” the report said, adding that nearly four million people would have to switch to vegetarians to offset each billionaire’s emissions. .
Some of the very wealthy people analyzed have actually tried to make positive impacts to tackle the climate crisis. They spotlight Yvonne Chouinard, the billionaire owner of the Patagonian sportswear brand, who established ownership of the company in confidence in favor of environmental efforts and declared that “Earth is our only contributor.”
Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brooks has acquired a large stake in Australian energy company AGL to prevent it from continuing to operate coal power plants for another two decades, the report said.
But the Oxfam researchers said these activism efforts were too limited in the super-rich sample.
The charity has estimated that a wealth tax on the world’s super-rich could generate $1.4 trillion annually, which could help developing countries hardest hit by the climate crisis adapt, address losses and damage, and implement a fair transition to renewable energy.
It also recommends sharply higher tax rates for investments in polluting industries; It calls on governments to act to ensure that investments in the extraction and use of new fossil fuels and in highly polluting industries are strictly regulated and, in many cases, prohibited.
“We need governments to urgently address this by publishing emissions figures for the richest people, regulating investors and companies to cut carbon emissions and taxing wealth and polluting investments. They cannot be allowed to hide or do the greenwashing,” Sarskenderajh said.
The role of the wealthy in extreme climate change is rarely discussed. This has to change. These billionaire investors at the top of the corporate pyramid bear a huge responsibility for driving the climate meltdown. They have eluded accountability for a long time.”