A recent study by the University of Leeds in the U.K. says rich people are most to blame for human-induced climate change.
As reported by the BBC, the wealthiest 10% of people in the 86 countries surveyed consume 20 times more fossil fuel energy than the poorest 10%.
The largest disparity is in the transportation sector, where the top 10% consume 187 times more fossil fuel energy than the bottom 10%.
This isn’t surprising.
Poor people have always been the world’s greatest environmentalists.
A minimum wage worker in Canada, who thinks human-induced climate change is a hoax, is doing far more to “save the planet” than all of the rich and relatively rich people who mock and denounce him, or her, as a “climate denier.”
He, or she, is a better environmentalist than our current prime minister, or anyone in his cabinet, or in our elite, chattering classes who imagine themselves to be climate crusaders.
Ditto the never-ending array of global celebrities who tell everyone else to consume less while flying around the world in private jets and vacationing on luxury yachts.
Poor people are the world’s greatest environmentalists because they consume less than rich people.
They live in small apartments, not mansions.
They take public transit, not cars.
They don’t go on exotic vacations.
They don’t fly.
They have few material possessions.
Since almost all goods and services consume fossil fuel energy, their carbon footprints are small because they consume less.
In responding to the study’s findings published in Nature Energy, Prof. Kevin Anderson of the U.K.’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Research — who wasn’t involved in the report — admirably stated the painfully obvious when it comes to the chattering classes.
As he told the BBC:
“This study tells relatively wealthy people like us what we don’t want to hear. The climate issue is framed by us high-emitters — the politicians, business people, journalists, academics … We have convinced ourselves that our lives are normal, yet the numbers tell a very different story.”
Anyone who tells others to consume less to save the planet is a hypocrite unless and until they’re willing to consume less themselves.
Nor can the rich claim to reduce their carbon footprints by buying carbon offsets, because the only credible way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is not to emit fossil fuel energy in the first place.
Carbon offsets are the modern equivalent of papal indulgences — paying for sin, without giving up the sin, hardly anything new for the rich.
The other way hypocritical elites attempt to guilt-trip everyone else on this issue is to go on and on about Canada’s high “per capita” emissions — as if every Canadian has an oil well in his or her backyard and is endangering life on earth by exploiting it. (Albeit not at current prices.)
Our per capita emissions are high — compared to those in the developing world — because we live in a big, cold, northern, sparsely-populated, industrialized country with significant fossil fuel resources.
It’s true, for example, that Canada’s per capita emissions for poor people are far higher than for the poor in China, but it’s misleading to talk about average per capita emissions in Canada when emissions are directly linked to income and standard of living.
The richer one is, the greater the emissions.
All of which means if you’re genuinely concerned about human-induced climate change, blame those rich people who are lecturing you about climate change.
Read more at Toronto Sun
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