Carbon Emissions of the World’s Richest People

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An Oxfam report titled, Carbon Billionaires: The investment emissions of the world’s richest people, has said the world’s richest people emit “unsustainable amounts of carbon,” as compared with an ordinary person.

About Carbon Emissions of the World’s Richest People:

  • This report is based on the fact that every human on Earth has a carbon footprint, which can be divided into “personal consumption emissions, emissions through government spending and emissions linked to investments”.
  • An analysis of the investments of 125 of the world’s richest billionaires was conducted by Oxfam International, and the report was published in November, 2022.
  • It demonstrated that on average, billionaires are responsible for emitting “3 million tonnes” of carbon a year, which is, “more than a million times the average for someone in the bottom 90% of humanity”.
  • It further found out that the 125 billionaires taken as a sample fund about 393 million tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year.
  • This is equivalent to the “annual carbon emissions of France,” which is a nation of 67 million people. 
  • In comparison, it said, “it would take 1.8 million cows to emit the same levels of CO2e as each of the 125 billionaires,” and “almost four million people would have to go vegan to offset the emissions of each of the billionaires”.


  • The report comes at a time when discussions to meet the globally agreed target of limiting the world’s temperature to below 1.5℃ is underway at COP 27 in Egypt and has significant implications for climate policymaking.
  • It takes a critical look at the relationship between economic inequality and climate crisis.
  • The idea is that since billionaires hold significant wealth and stakes in globally recognised corporations, they hold the power to influence the ways in which those corporations behave.
  • As people from low and middle-income backgrounds do not exercise much control over their energy choices, the report says it is imperative for world leaders to ensure that “those who emit the most carbon also do the most to reduce those emissions”.
  • The report suggests that a wealth tax on the richest could aid the urgent climate finance needs of developing countries and “raise hundreds of billions of dollars to help and protect those already suffering the impacts of catastrophic climate change”.

Source : Indian Express