The Extinction of Great Wealth: It’s the Only Way to Avoid Climate Collapse | George Monbiot
NSMost of our imbalances are caused by pandering to the rich. the way in which governments have permitted democracy by lobbyists (including politicians with lucrative special interests); Deregulation that allows corporations, oligarchs, and landlords to pressure their workers and tenants, then dump their costs on society; An environment that allows profitability during an epidemic; The deterioration of health, education and other public services through the continuing trend towards privatization: all these are symptoms of the same condition.
The same goes for our worst predicament: the destruction of our life support systems. The wealthy give themselves the lion’s share of the planetary space on which we all depend. It is hard to understand why we would tolerate this attack on our common interests.
The richest 1% of the world’s population (those who earn more than $172,000 per year) produce 15% of the world’s carbon emissions: Double the combined effect of the poorest 50%. On average, they emit more than 70 tons of carbon dioxide per person each year, 30 times more than we can tolerate if we don’t exceed 1.5°C of global warming. While the emissions of the world’s middle classes are expected to fall sharply over the next decade, thanks to the overall decarbonization of our economies, the amount produced by the rich rarely drops at all: in other words, they will be responsible for a larger share of total CO2. carbon. Becoming a good global citizen means reducing carbon consumption by an average of 97%.
Even if 90% of the population produces no carbon at all, the projected emissions of the richest 10% (those who earn more than $55,000) over the next nine years will use almost the entire global budget. Disparity in environmental impact mirrors a Inequality between the nation. No wonder the prosperous peoples of rich countries are so eager to strive for it Shift the blame to Chinaor to Other birth rates: Sometimes it seems like they’ll try anything before caring about their own effects.
A recent analysis of the lifestyles of 20 billionaires found that each produced, on average, more 8000 tons CO2: 3,500 times their fair share in a world committed to no more than 1.5°C of heating. The main reasons are their planes and yachts. A luxury yacht alone, which is kept on permanent standby, as is the case for billionaire boats, generates about 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Bill Gates, a self-proclaimed climate champion, doesn’t own a yacht. However, he has an estimated footprint of three thousand times greater than that of a righteous world citizen, largely due to his collection Airplanes and helicopters. pretend to “Buying green jet fuel‘, but there is no such thing. Aircraft biofuels, if deployed on a large scale, would lead to an environmental disaster, as so much plant material is required to power a single flight. This means that crops or farms have to replace Food production or terrestrial ecosystems No other “green” aviation fuel is currently available.
Gates seeks to resolve such disputes by purchasing Carbon offset. But all opportunities to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are now required to reduce the impact of humanity as a whole. Why should they be captured by those who want to continue to live like emperors?
Frequent flyers often tell us that we should overlook the climate impacts of aviation, as they are “only a few percent”. But the only reason they stay relatively low is because flying is so focused. Aviation accounts for most of the greenhouse gases Emissions of the super-richThis is why the richest 1% give birth to nearly half of the world’s population Aviation emissions. If everyone lived like this, flying would be the biggest cause of all climate collapse.
But their carbon greed knows no bounds: some super-rich people are now hoping to travel to space, which means that each of them will produce as much carbon dioxide in 10 minutes as An average of 30 people emit in one year. Rich people claim to be wealth creators. But ecologically speaking, they don’t make wealth. They take it from everyone else.
Big money now buys everything: even access to the meetings that must address these imbalances. By some accounts, Cop26 is the most Except for all climatic peaks. Delegates from poor countries have been frustrated by a draconian array of Byzantine visa requirements, false promises of Covid vaccines, and insane costs of accommodation, thanks to the government’s failures to set local rates, or make rooms available. Even when delegates from poor countries manage to climb these walls, they often find themselves excluded from negotiating areas, and therefore unable to Impact on conversations.
By contrast, more than 500 fossil fuel lobbyists have been granted access, more than delegations combined. eight countries Already destroyed by climate collapse: Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Mozambique, Myanmar, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Hear the perpetrators, the excluded victims.
There is a much-cited axiom, the author of which is ambiguous: it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. Part of the reason is that capitalism itself is hard to imagine. Most people struggle to identify it, and its heroes have generally succeeded in concealing it true nature. Let’s start by imagining something easy to understand: the end of concentrated wealth. Our survival depends on it.
I’ve come to believe that the most important environmental measure is wealth taxes. Preventing systematic ecological collapse means driving vast wealth to extinction. It is not humanity as a whole that the planet cannot afford. They are very rich.