Luxury yachts and private jets: Why the rich are the biggest climate killers


The rich are destroying our livelihood. The richest one percent of people are responsible for 16 percent of global CO2 emissions. This inequality is exposed in a study by development organization “Oxfam”. What does this mean for reaching the global climate goals and how can we stop the ecological vandals? 

On the occasion of the world climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow the development organization “Oxfam” points to a study dealing with the “ecological vandalism” of the super rich. Global warming needs to be limited to 1.5 degrees by 2030. Per capita, in order to meet this target, 2.1 tons of CO2 may be emitted. The rich exceed this per capita value by a factor of 30. They would have to reduce their emissions by 97% to make a fair contribution to meeting the climate targets.

We can’t afford the rich anymore!

 The lifestyle of the super-rich is destroying our livelihoods. Luxury goods like superyachts, private jets and private space travel, but also climate-damaging investments in oil or coal: according to study author Tim Gore of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), all of these contribute to the poor climate record of the super-rich.

To meet the much-cited 1.5-degree target, per capita greenhouse gas emissions should be no more than 2.1 tons by 2030. To put this abstract figure in perspective:  The poorest 50 percent of the world’s population is far below that, while the richest one percent produces 30 times more emissions than is acceptable.

The rich and their CO2 emissions come at the expense of the poorer half of the world’s population

Rich people, such as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, have themselves blasted into space for fun, and in just a few minutes, they emit more CO2-emissions than the rest of us do in an entire year. But above all, luxury goods such as yachts or private jets are real climate killers. Crop failures, heat waves, floods: These are the life-threatening consequences of such environmentally damaging behavior, and consequences that the world’s poorest have to bear the brunt of.

Countless experts agree: the rich should be limited to owning fewer mega yachts, private jets and private spaceships for the good of the majority. In short, the rich must drastically reduce their CO2 emissions. And if not, they must pay high climate taxes. This is the only way to ensure that everyone makes a fair contribution to preventing global warming.

 Last chance to stop global warming: Climate tax now!

Unless something groundbreaking happens soon, the 1.5 degree target for 2030 will move further and further out of reach. That was the general tenor of the World Climate Conference in Glasgow. The super-rich in particular are responsible for the extreme rise in CO2 emissions – and not the global “middle class,” as often assumed. The Oxfam study therefore calls for bold regulations and shows that a climate tax as well as an economy which benefits the many and not the few is possible. Climate justice also means being able to invest the revenues from the climate tax in the thermal renovation of buildings, the massive expansion of international rail networks or the expansion of public transport. All these things could be financed with the revenues from climate taxes.

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