Thursday 26 March 2020

‘World’s wealthiest consume 187 times more vehicle fuel than the poorest’

‘World’s wealthiest consume 187 times more vehicle fuel than the poorest’

The richest 10% of people in the world consume 187 times more fossil fuels for transportation than the poorest 10%, according to a new study from the University of Leeds.

Researchers have estimated how much energy was used by different income groups based on spending data from 86 countries, compiled by the European Union and the World Bank and found that among all the countries and income classes the top 10% consume roughly 20 times more energy than the bottom 10%.

The findings of the study also show transport has some of the greatest inequality, with the top 10% of consumers using more than half of the energy related to mobility with the vast majority of it being fossil-fuel based.

The study highlights the unequal distribution of energy footprints between countries, with 20% of UK citizens belonging in the top 5% of energy consumers, along with 40% of German citizens and 100% of Luxembourg’s population - meanwhile, only 2% of China’s population are in the top 5% of energy consumers and merely 0.02% of the Indian population.

Julia Steinberg, Professor from the University of Leeds, said: "There needs to be serious consideration to how to change the vastly unequal distribution of global energy consumption to cope with the dilemma of providing a decent life for everyone while protecting climate and ecosystems."

Anne Owen, study Co-Author from the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds, said: “This kind of research is very promising for modelling future distributional implications of climate and energy policies.

“Growth and increased consumption continue to be core goals of today’s politics and economics. The transition to zero carbon energy will be made easier by reduction in demand, which means that top consumers will play an important role in lowering their excess energy consumption.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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