Friday, July 17, 2009

Social Inequality and Climate Change

Green Compass

In a fascinating article, Hervé Kempf cites a study in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science which finds a correlation between personal wealth and personal CO2 emissions and recommends no one be allowed to exceed a personal CO2 emissions ceiling of 10.8 tons per person.
The higher one's income, the more CO2 one emits, and it is possible to establish a correlation between income level and emission level. Knowing that we are supposed to be 8.1 billion humans in 2030, calculations lead to settling on 10.8 tons per person as the maximum ceiling that would allow humanity to remain within the 30 billion ton limit. Below that ceiling a significant inequality of incomes/emissions subsists (from 1 to 10 tons per inhabitant), but that is evened out. "All emissions that exceed that level must be eliminated" an action that involves about a billion emitters.

This reasoning has the primary merit of highlighting that the fight against climate change cannot leave the issue of social inequality aside.

Another interesting aspect of the paper is that one finds many people in the United States and in Europe who emit more than ten tons of CO2 a year, but also in China and other countries of the South: it's not only North and South that are at issue, but rather, everywhere, the wealthy layers of the population and the masses.

On Point!
The social body's placidity with respect to enormous compensation packages is fascinating. The financial system has collapsed, the economy is going through its most serious crisis in decades, unemployment follows a rising curve; but, contentedly, and without any sense of shame, the elite management classes responsible for the situation continue to grant themselves exorbitant incomes. Truly fascinating.
Conclusion: low CO2 emitters everywhere, unite!
Visit article original @ Le Monde diplomatique

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