A wealth tax could be a way to not only address inequality, it’s also a way to reduce the damage done to the planet by greedy billionaires. Oxfam looked into the investments that the ultra rich hold and found that their investments alone do more damage to the planet than the entire nation of France. By introducing a wealth tax it would force the ultra wealthy to streamline their holdings and force them to think better about where they put their money. Let’s tax their obscene wealth and ban their private jets!
Researchers made the calculations by starting with a list of the 220 richest people in the world, according to the Bloomberg billionaire list from August 2022. They worked with a data provider to identify what percentage of each company was held by the billionaires andthe scope 1 and 2 emissionsof these corporations. The researchers used analysis by Bloomberg for detailed breakdowns of the sources of billionaire wealth to calculate what percentage of each company was owned by the billionaires. They excluded billionaires with less than a 10% share in a business. The research was limited because it was reliant on data that companies publish themselves, which is often not externally verified.
“Each of these billionaires would each have to circumnavigate the world almost 16m times in a private jet to create the same emissions,” the report said – adding that almost four million people would have to go vegan to offset the emissions of each of the billionaires.
Our global carbon footprint has risen dramatically since 1990, but only a few people are to blame for the worst of it. The wealthy have been increasing their carbon output without regard for anybody on the planet (or future generations). Reducing their carbon output is simple and easy, many ideas have been put on this very site. As always, we need politicians brave enough to stand up for the majority of people.
He finds that per-capita emissions of the top 1% of emitters in the world grew by 26% over 1990-2019. The top 0.01% saw an even larger rise of 80%. Meanwhile, the bottom half of emitters saw a more modest 16% increase in per-capita emissions. And the “lower- and middle-income groups of the rich countries” saw a drop in per capita emissions of 5-15%.
The family who owned the Patagonia clothing company recently gave the company to a new trust which will take all the profits and dedicate it to fighting climate change. Meaning that the $3 billion company will now spend the $100 million in profits it generates annually on good things. The billionaire family hopes that their action will inspire other insanely wealthy people to do the same with their companies.
“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Mr. Chouinard, 83, said in an exclusive interview. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”
Patagonia will continue to operate as a private, for-profit corporation based in Ventura, Calif., selling more than $1 billion worth of jackets, hats and ski pants each year. But the Chouinards, who controlled Patagonia until last month, no longer own the company.
There’s no doubt that we can all reduce our carbon footprint, but there’s one segment of the population who drastically need to cut their carbon output: the rich. Recent headlines have made it clear that the poor are impact most by climate issues, while the rich can afford solutions the rest of us cannot. What’s more, according to the UN, the wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%. The richest 5% contributed 37% of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.
If we’re going to avoid climate catastrophe then we need the polluter elite to do their part – not just the rest of us.
He continued: â€œRich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air. But these schemes are highly contentious and theyâ€™re not proven over time.
The wealthy, he said, â€œsimply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV thatâ€™s still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first placeâ€.
Sam Hall, from the Conservative Environment Network, told BBC News: “Itâ€™s right to emphasise the importance of fairness in delivering (emissions cuts) – and policy could make it easier for people and businesses to go green – through incentives, targeted regulation and nudges.
Democracy is rule by the people and it’s up to the people to ensure that this continues to be the case. Currently the growing inequality in democracies is threatening the very existence of these societies to continue, but there is a simple solution. If we ensure that billionaires give back to the society that they used to make their wealth then we can continue to thrive. Every billionaire made their money by extracting wealth from others and we can’t forget that. If we don’t make billionaires contribute back then we’ll continue to have many social problems. Perhaps it’s time for something radical and outright ban billionaires?
But there are far more urgent reasons than poverty to get rid of billionaires and reverse the trend of economic polarization. A growing body of economic and political-science research demonstrates that Gilded Ageâ€“type inequality does not just mean having too many with too little. It is warping the very social fabric of the country, stifling mobility, innovation, investment, and growth, and putting the country at political risk.
Given all this evidence, wealth taxes are not simply a way to pay for programs for the poor. They are a way of reducing the incentive for the rich to soak up all that money in the first place. They are a way of pushing the steps of the income ladder closer together to make them easier to climb. They are a way of ending what two leading economists on inequality, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, call â€œoligarchic drift,â€ and its attending political risks. They are a way of building a healthier economic future for everyoneâ€”including those 400 families up at the tippy top.