Despite the pandemic and subsequent lock-downs, the accumulation of emissions in the atmosphere continued to grow.
Dramatic lifestyle changes are needed among the so-called "polluter elite" to limit global warming, the richest 1% will need to reduce their emissions by a factor of at least 30 by 2030.
The UN found that world's wealthiest 1% produce twice as much carbon emissions as the poorest 50%.
According to a recent report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission individual and systemic changes go hand in hand. They release their finding along with several recommendations aiming to meet the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement.
Suggestions from the report include
- reducing over-consumption by addressing advertising and the normalization of high consumption behaviours.
- preventing unsustainable high carbon products and services from coming to market in the first place instead of attempting to undo unsustainable behaviours.
- introducing carbon taxes on high polluting luxuries, such as SUVs, private jets and super yachts.
The goal of the suggestions is to create a sustainable economy and society that can exist within the planet’s productive boundaries.
The lead author emphasized that drastic action is needed as emissions continue to rise, and that cutting over-consumption among the polluting elites is the most effective method as they contribute by far more than their fair share of emissions.
The lead author continues to say how existing political structures allowed the wealthiest to lobby against necessary changes in society that might impact their own lifestyles.
Calculations suggest the goals of the ‘Paris Agreement on climate change’ cannot be achieved without radical changes to lifestyles by the ultra-wealthy, but weather they will shift their behaviour without any consequences for polluting is quite unlikely.
On top of this poor, heavily populated nations continue to argue that they should be allowed to increase their pollution because they have lower per-person emissions.
All these issues and competing incentives will clash at the November the COP climate summit in the UK.
The UKs own woodlands have been pushed to crisis point by a 'barrage' of threats, says Woodland Trust, but governing bodies have continued to scrap environmental schemes such as the Green Homes Grant scheme and air passenger duty on UK return flights.
Will common sense be able to prevail over the greed of human nature and influence of lobbying? or will the worst 1% drag all of humanity down with them?