The carbon footprints of the richest 1% on earth are set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement by 2030, according to new research by Oxfam on Friday.
In 2015, governments agreed to the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but current pledges to reduce emissions are far from reaching this goal.
'To stay within the 1.5°C goal, every person on earth would need to emit an average of just 2.3 tons of CO2 per year by 2030. This is roughly half the average footprint of every person on earth today,' according to the report from the British-founded confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty.
Oxfam based their estimates of how governments' pledges will affect the carbon footprints of richer and poorer people around the world on research carried out by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
According to the study, the poorest half of the global population will still emit far below the 1.5°C-aligned level by 2030.
'The richest 1% and 10% of people are set to exceed this level by 30 times and 9 times, respectively,' the report forecasts.
It said that an individual in the richest 1% would need to reduce their emissions by around 97% compared with today to reach this level.
Nonetheless, some progress has been made since the signing of the 2015 Paris Agreement, as the middle 40% is on course for per capita emissions cuts of 9% from 2015 to 2030.
Commenting on the report, Nafkote Dabi, the Climate Policy lead at Oxfam, said emissions from a single billionaire spaceflight would exceed the lifetime emissions of someone in the poorest billion people on Earth.
'A tiny elite appears to have a free pass to pollute,' she said, adding that their over-sized emissions are fueling extreme weather around the world and jeopardizing the international goal of limiting global heating.
She added that the geography of global carbon inequality is set to change too, with a larger share of the emissions of the world's richest 1% and 10% linked to citizens in middle-income countries.
Tim Gore, the author of the briefing and head of the Low Carbon and Circular Economy program at IEEP, said the global emissions gap to keep the 1.5°C Paris goal alive is not the result of the consumption of most of the world's people.
'It reflects instead the excessive emissions of just the richest citizens on the planet. To close the emissions gap by 2030, it is necessary for governments to target measures at their richest, highest emitters ―the climate and inequality crises should be tackled together,' he said.
That includes both measures to constrain luxury carbon consumption like mega yachts, private jets and space travel, and to curb climate-intensive investments like stock-holdings in fossil fuel industries.
By Gulsen Cagatay and Nuran Erkul Kaya in Glasgow, Scotland.