Global Carbon Inequality: Those Who Pollute Less Face More Relative Losses

The Climate Inequality Report 2023 by the World Inequality Lab, finds that those who pollute less face more relative losses, but also have less resources to adapt. 

To illustrate this “global carbon inequality”, the report shows that while the bottom 50% of the world population is exposed to 75% of relative income losses due to climate change, but only contributes to 12% of global emissions and owns just 2% of total personal wealth worldwide. Meanwhile, the top 10% of the world population faces just 3% of relative income losses, but is responsible for 48% of all emissions and also owns 76% of total personal wealth worldwide. 

See the appendix in the report for the full methodology behind the calculations. Importantly, the authors note that the global groups are the same when looking at losses and emissions (the bottom 50% of the distribution of losses is the same group as the bottom 50% of emitters). This is not the case for the distribution of personal wealth holders (the bottom 50% of this group is not exactly the same as the bottom 50% of emitters and loss bearers), yet the authors state in the report that they have a high degree of confidence that the levels will be similar if the datasets were reconciled. 

Read more:

  • Read the full report here
  • Watch the presentation at the Norad conference by Lucas Chancel