With the current climate commitments made by countries around the world, the planet is on a catastrophic warming trajectory: 2.5 to 2.9 degrees by 2100. This is the dramatic appeal that once again comes from an international body. This was revealed in a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), published before the start of the COP28 summit scheduled in Dubai on 30 November.
"On global warming, we are off track." UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to take "drastic climate action now". "Today's report on the emissions gap shows that, if nothing changes, in 2030 emissions will be 22 billion tonnes higher than those allowed by the 1.5 degree limit. This is roughly the total of the current annual emissions of the US, China and the EU combined," the UN Secretary-General said, adding that the report shows that the emissions gap is more like a canyon. After all, "greenhouse gas emissions have reached all-time highs, an increase of 1.2% compared to last year".
In the meantime, there is another dramatic testimony on the climate emergency: the richest 1% of the world's population, 77 million people, produce CO2 like two-thirds of the poorest, 5 billion people. This is denounced in this case by the NGO Oxfam, with a new report released ten days before the start of COP28. Oxfam therefore proposes the introduction of a progressive tax on large assets, to be paid by those who live in the richest countries and who have the highest emissions. The report, produced in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), offers an analysis of emission levels for different income groups in 2019, the year for which the most recent data are available.
Those who are part of the richest 1% by income pollute on average in a year as much as a person belonging to the remaining 1% of humanity would pollute in 500,99 years. Every year, emissions from these super-rich people effectively cancel out the reduction in CO2 emissions from the use of nearly one million wind turbines. By 2030, the carbon emissions of the richest 1% will be 22 times higher than the level compatible with the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, set by the Paris Climate Agreement. The dossier also denounces how the emissions of the richest 1% of the planet will cause 1.3 million deaths due to the effects of global warming, most of them by 2030.
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