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Friday, December 8, 2023

in France, the richest 1% emit as much greenhouse gases in one year as 50% of the poorest

This is an edifying observation reported by Oxfam. According to a report published by the anti-poverty NGO, Sunday November 19, the richest 1% on the planet emit as much greenhouse gas as two-thirds of the poorest population.

More concretely, 77 million people (the richest 1%) are responsible for 16% of global emissions linked to their consumption. This is the same proportion as 66% of the poorest population, or 5.11 billion people, details the document entitled Climate equality: a planet for the 99%. Drawing on research compiled by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), it analyzes consumption-related emissions associated with different income categories through 2019.

The income threshold for being part of the richest 1% has been adjusted by country according to purchasing power parity – for example, in the United States, the threshold is 140,000 dollars (128,000 euros) and the Kenyan equivalent of around $40,000.

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The report takes in particular the case of France where, in 10 years, the richest 1% have emitted as much carbon in one year as the poorest 50%. If we exclude the emissions associated with his investments, Bernard Arnault, the French CEO of the luxury group LVMH and the richest Frenchman, has a carbon footprint 1,270 times greater than that of an average French person.

“The richer you are, the easier it is to reduce your personal emissions”

While tackling climate change is a common challenge, some are more responsible than others and government policies must be adapted accordingly, concludes Max Lawson, co-author of the report.

He adds : “The richer you are, the easier it is to reduce your personal emissions and those linked to your investments”. Because, “you don’t need a third car, a fourth vacation or (…) to invest in the cement industry”he believes.

Enough to fuel the debate on the “climate tax”. Indeed, “We believe that unless governments adopt progressive climate policy, where the people who emit the most are asked to make the greatest sacrifices, we will never get good climate policies”, argues Max Lawson. This could thus consist of a tax on non-ecological investments or even a tax for those who make more than 10 flights per year.

New tax in France

The air sector is, in fact, particularly singled out for its greenhouse gas emissions, just like the motorway sector. They will, moreover, both be targeted by a tax announced by the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, end of September. The sectors considered to be the most polluting will thus be subject to a new tax contribution within the framework of the 2024 finance bill (PLF).

More precisely, these are the “large operations of long-distance transport infrastructure” at the forefront of which are motorway concessions and airports. The ports, however, seem spared. This new tax, which should generate 600 million euros annually, will be used to finance the “future plan for transport” had justified Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in February, in order to mainly support the development of the railway sector.

Towards an increase in plane tickets

An announcement which did not fail to provoke a reaction from air transport which, through the voice of Pascal de Izaguirre, president of the National Federation of Aviation and its Trades (Fnam), declared: “Needless to tell you that we are firmly opposed to this tax, which has not been the subject of any consultation”.

In a press release, dated August 30, Fnam was already surprised by the “form of this announcement, which was not the subject of any consultation or information gathering from stakeholders in the aviation sector”believing that “the accumulation of tax measures needlessly threatens the future of the French flag”. And to ensure that she “will study possible legal remedies against the implementation of such a system”.

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Denouncing an increase in taxation, this tax comes “to be added to the plan to increase the solidarity tax on plane tickets”. And the government decision augurs a further increase in ticket prices, affirmed Pascal De Izaguirre. On the price of a ticket for French or European domestic routes, “there are almost half already in taxes and royalties”had specified the one who is also president of Corsair, while ensuring that the margins of the sector remained “extremely weak” despite the resumption of activity and prices having increased significantly after the health crisis.

(With AFP)