Richest people in UK ‘use more energy flying’ than poorest do overall

(CarbonBrief, 14 Dec 2022) The wealthiest people in the UK burn through more energy flying than the poorest use in every aspect of their lives, according to new research.

The analysis of data from 2019 highlights “significant inequalities” in energy use across the country. Those in the top 10% of incomes used nearly three times as much energy in a year as people in the bottom 30%. 

This was particularly true for transport. Car journeys and flights taken by the richest British people – especially “white, wealthy middle-aged men” – used more energy that year than 60% of the population got through in total.

The authors of the study, published in Ecological Economics, say energy consumption is currently “too high” to achieve the world’s climate targets, even as many indulge in “excess energy use” while millions languish in fuel poverty.

Yet, by combining their energy analysis with measures of wellbeing, they conclude that a high standard of living can be achieved in the UK with relatively low levels of energy consumption. 

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CarbonBrief, 14 Dec 2022: Richest people in UK ‘use more energy flying’ than poorest do overall