The top 1% income earners are mostly responsible for climate change, but not the 1% you are thinking of

(Eco Business, 23 May 2019) Renewable energy expert Nabeel Ismeer explores how the world’s top income earners can affect the economy, workplace and the government, and what they can do to use their influence as a force for good.

The 1 percenters of the US have been in the news a lot lately. Guess how much the top 1 per cent of earners in the world make?

According to the Global Rich List, an annual salary of about 32,000 US dollars would place you in the top 1 per cent. 32,000 United States dollars – I am not missing a zero. This roughly translates into a sixteen dollar per hour wage, to get into the top 1 per cent globally. I would guess that most people reading this article make that wage. This is by no means a comfortable income in many countries but spare a thought for the 99 per cent of people who live below this wage – most of them live in a different reality from this 1 per cent.

The focus of this article is not inequality, which is a growing problem, but to think about who is responsible for climate change and more importantly, who is going to solve our climate challenge?

Dollarstreet, explores how incomes influence how we live. You can be living in Europe, but if you have the same income as someone in India, your homes, your cars, and your appliances, look similar.

What if we look at CO2 emissions based on our incomes rather than where we are from? If you are in this top 1 per cent, wherever you live, you are responsible for emissions: driving around in a car, taking overseas vacations, heating up your house, cooling down your house and a host of other luxuries that 99 out of a 100 people don’t have.

What if we look at the influence of this 1 per cent, which includes not only billionaires and CEO’s, but also engineers, regulatory officers, accountants, financial analysts and diverse mix of other professionals? These are the people who benefit from the CO2 emitting system, but also are the ones who design, finance and operate the system. 

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Eco Business, 23 May 2019: The top 1% income earners are mostly responsible for climate change, but not the 1% you are thinking of