The richest 10 percent of the world’s population produce half of the Earth’s climate-harming fossil-fuel emissions, while the poorest half contribute a mere 10 percent, British charity Oxfam said in a report released today.
Here is a link to the technical reports behind the analysis. Basically, Oxfam took data on income shares of different percentiles at the national level and distributed aggregate national emissions to those percentiles. Critically, its CO2 model represents emissions from consumption rather than production. The proportion of total consumption emissions attributed to the lifestyle consumption of individuals varies by country, but globally accounts for around 64 percent of the total.
Owing to limitations with the data, and certain assumptions made in the analysis, all figures should be regarded as indicative of orders of magnitude, rather than exact reflections of reality. This analysis is intended to contribute to a discussion about the links between income and emissions and the associated inequities of intra- national greenhouse gas pollution; it is not intended to be a definitive international account of emissions produced by populations with different income levels. It is hoped that future work may build on the first steps taken here.