How to combat the growing carbon inequality?

Climate Inequality Report 2023

21 February by Sushovan Dhar

Global attention has been drawn to the rising inequality that has recently been observed in almost all the nations. Growing inequality is a result of a number of reasons, including globalisation, technological advancement, labour market changes, tax laws, and political actions. For instance, while technical advancement has resulted in automation and the displacement of workers, globalisation has boosted competition for jobs and decreased wages for workers in the majority of industries.

Changes in labour markets, such as the decline of unionisation and the growth of the “gig economy,” have also contributed to growing inequality, as workers in non-traditional jobs often lack the job security and benefits that were once common. Tax policies and political decisions can also have a significant impact on inequality. For example, cuts to social welfare programs, such as food stamps and housing assistance, can disproportionately affect low-income individuals and families. Similarly, tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy can exacerbate inequality by reducing the resources available for public services and programmes that benefit all citizens.

Observed regional effects of climate change on agricultural productivity across the world (1961-2015)

A recent report by the UNDP UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
The UNDP, founded in 1965 and based in New York, is the UN’s main agency of technical assistance. It helps the DC, without any political restrictions, to set up basic administrative and technical services, trains managerial staff, tries to respond to some of the essential needs of populations, takes the initiative in regional co-operation programmes and co-ordinates, theoretically at least, the local activities of all the UN operations. The UNDP generally relies on Western expertise and techniques, but a third of its contingent of experts come from the Third World. The UNDP publishes an annual Human Development Report which, among other things, classifies countries by their Human Development Rating (HDR).

, produced by the World Inequality Lab, titled Climate Inequality Report 2023, draws our attention to growing global carbon inequality. It points out the unequal distribution of carbon emissions and their effects on the environment and society. Specifically, it refers to the fact that high-income individuals and nations tend to produce more carbon emissions per capita than low-income individuals and nations, while also being less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This phenomenon is due to a number of factors, including differences in economic development, infrastructure, energy use, and consumption patterns. For example, high-income individuals and nations tend to consume more energy and engage in more carbon-intensive activities, such as air travel and driving cars, while also having greater access to resources and technology to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Emissions by global emitter group and shares in world total, 2019 [1]

Many variables, such as disparities in economic development, infrastructure, energy use, and consumption patterns, contribute to this issue. For instance, high-income people and countries typically use more energy and partake in carbon-intensive activities like flying and driving while also having greater access to resources and technology to adapt to the effects of climate change. On the other hand, low-income people and nations frequently lack the infrastructure needed to cut their carbon emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change. As a result, they frequently experience an unfair amount of the negative effects of climate change, like rising sea levels, harsh weather, and food poverty.

Carbon footprints by group across the world 2019 [2]

It is true that, compared to those who are more rich, people who are economically underprivileged or live in poverty tend to contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions on a per capita basis. They have restricted access to resources and infrastructure that produce greenhouse gases, such as meat eating, power generated from fossil fuels, and private vehicles. According to the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, “the climate crisis is a deeply unfair one: the poorest people in the world contribute the least to climate change. In fact, 74 of the world’s poorest countries (...) account for less than one tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These countries are also hardest hit by the impacts of climate change.” [3]

Per capita emissions growth by percentile of global emissions distribution, 1990-2019 [4]

However, it’s important to note that this does not mean that those at the bottom are not impacted by climate change or that they don’t contribute to emissions at all. In fact, those who are most vulnerable and marginalized are often the ones who suffer the most from the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events, sea level rise, and food and water scarcity. It is equally true that global carbon inequality is increasing fast within the countries as compared to between the countries. By hitting the poorest hardest, climate change risks both increasing existing economic inequalities and causing people to fall into poverty. [5]

Global inequality of carbon emissions: between- vs. within-country, 1990-2019 [6]

Carbon inequality within a nation is the uneven distribution of greenhouse gas emissions, which fuel climate change, among various racial and ethnic groups there. In other words, certain people or organisations may contribute a disproportionately large amount of emissions compared to others, which would result in unevenly distributed climate impacts. Several methods that carbon inequality can appear are possible. For instance, due to higher levels of consumption and easier access to products and services like air travel, large residences, and personal vehicles, wealthier people and households frequently have a larger carbon footprint than lower-income ones. Similar to this, certain businesses and economic sectors could produce an excessive quantity of emissions, resulting in differences in emissions between different geographic areas or communities.

The Climate Inequality Report, 2023, indicates that “between 1990 and 2019, it is also found that the role of within country carbon emissions inequality rose significantly. In 1990, about 62% of the global inequality in individual carbon emissions was due to average emissions differences between countries. In 2019, the situation has been reversed: 64% of the global inequality in emissions is now due to differences within countries

Decent Living Energy Threshold
The “decent living energy threshold” is a concept used to describe the minimum amount of energy that a household needs to meet its basic needs and achieve a decent standard of living. This threshold varies depending on a number of factors, such as household size, geographic location, climate, and the specific needs of the household.

In general, the decent living energy threshold is calculated by estimating the amount of energy needed for basic services such as lighting, cooking, heating, and cooling, as well as for productive uses such as running small businesses or using appliances for income-generating activities. The threshold may also include some additional energy for entertainment, communication, and other non-essential uses.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the global average for the decent living energy threshold is around 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) per person per month. However, this can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, households in colder climates may require more energy for heating, while households in warmer climates may require more energy for cooling.

Current total energy and share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings. of this energy used for DLS provision vs projected energy needs for universal DLS in 2050 [7]

It’s worth noting that the decent living energy threshold is just one part of the broader concept of “energy poverty,” which refers to the lack of access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services. Many households around the world still lack access to electricity or clean cooking fuels, which can have significant negative impacts on health, education, and economic development.

Poverty Eradication and Carbon Emissions
There is a complex relationship between poverty eradication and carbon emissions. On the one hand, reducing poverty often requires increased energy access and use, which can lead to higher carbon emissions if that energy comes from fossil fuels. On the other hand, poverty eradication can also contribute to lower carbon emissions by reducing reliance on traditional, inefficient energy sources such as biomass and kerosene.

In general, poverty eradication efforts that rely on increasing access to clean energy and energy-efficient technologies can help to reduce carbon emissions. For example, providing households with access to clean cooking technologies such as LPG stoves or electric induction cookers can help to reduce the use of traditional biomass fuels, which can be a significant source of carbon emissions. Similarly, increasing access to energy-efficient lighting and appliances can help to reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

According to the Climate Inequality Report, “eradicating global poverty below US$5.50 would entail an increase in carbon emissions of approximately 18%. Such an effort would be synonymous with significant improvements in living standards for almost half of the global population. While an increase in carbon emissions of 18% may appear sizeable, it is crucial to put these numbers into perspective (...) the top 1% of global emitters are responsible for 15% of global emissions and thus only marginally smaller than the amount of carbon required to shift everyone above the poverty line. In other words, the extra carbon budget required to eradicate global poverty at US$5.50 and improve the livelihoods of more than three billion people is comparable to the emissions currently generated by the global top 1%. Focusing on the top 10% of global carbon emitters, the required carbon budget for ambitious poverty alleviation comprises roughly a third of their current emissions. The implications of these results are clear: global poverty alleviation is difficult, but is neither out of reach nor heavily constrained by climate change mitigation.”


However, it’s important to note that the relationship between poverty eradication and carbon emissions is not always straightforward. For example, some poverty eradication efforts may rely on increased industrialization or transport infrastructure, which can lead to higher carbon emissions if not done in a sustainable way. Additionally, some developing countries may prioritize economic development over environmental concerns, which can lead to higher carbon emissions in the short term.

Ultimately, balancing poverty eradication with the need to reduce carbon emissions is a complex challenge that requires a multifaceted approach. This approach may include increasing access to clean energy and energy-efficient technologies, promoting sustainable economic development, and supporting international cooperation and funding to help developing countries transition to low-carbon economies.

Unequal Impacts Of Climate Change
Climate change is not affecting all regions of the world equally. In fact, some regions are experiencing more severe impacts of climate change than others, and these impacts are often closely linked to existing patterns of inequality and vulnerability. Some of the unequal regional impacts of climate change include:

  • Disproportionate impact on developing countries: Developing countries, particularly those in the Global South, are often the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These countries typically have limited resources to adapt to changing climate conditions, and may also be more reliant on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. As a result, climate change can exacerbate existing poverty, inequality, and social and economic vulnerability.
  • Unequal impacts within countries: Even within countries, climate change is not affecting all regions equally. For example, some regions may be more prone to extreme weather events such as droughts or floods, while others may be more susceptible to sea level rise. Additionally, vulnerable populations such as low-income communities or indigenous groups may be disproportionately affected by climate change impacts due to factors such as poor infrastructure, limited access to resources, or historic marginalization.
  • Impacts on small island developing states (SIDS): SIDS are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as they are often located in regions that are highly susceptible to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and storm surges. These impacts can lead to displacement, loss of livelihoods, and increased social and economic vulnerability.
  • Unequal responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions: Finally, it’s important to note that the impacts of climate change are often linked to historical patterns of greenhouse gas emissions. Developed countries, which have historically been responsible for the majority of global emissions, may not feel the full brunt of climate change impacts, while developing countries that have contributed relatively little to global emissions may be disproportionately affected.

Predicted change in temperature variability until end of century vs emissions per capita between 1990 and 2013 [8]

The report notes that “a 1◦ C increase in the global mean temperature is associated with a 15% rise in temperature variability by the end of the century in regions such as Amazonia and Southern Africa. Bathiany et al. (2018) show that poor countries, which bear little responsibility for global warming will face the strongest changes in temperature variability. In other words, low income countries will see themselves exposed to more volatile temperatures and more frequent temperature anomalies with potentially devastating effects on agricultural output, while regions with the highest responsibility for climate change may experience reduced temperature volatility.” Overall, it’s clear that climate change is a deeply unequal and unjust phenomenon, and addressing these regional inequalities will be a critical part of any comprehensive climate policy or response. This may involve a range of strategies, such as promoting climate justice, supporting vulnerable populations and countries, and implementing policies that prioritize sustainable development and emissions reduction.

Observed regional effects of climate change on agricultural productivity across the world (1961-2015) [9]

Addressing carbon inequality requires a multi-faceted approach that includes both individual and systemic changes. On the individual level, reducing personal carbon footprints through actions such as driving less, eating a plant-based diet, and reducing energy use can help to reduce overall emissions. However, systemic change is also needed to address the structural inequalities that contribute to carbon inequality, such as unequal access to clean energy and transportation options, and unequal distribution of the costs and benefits of climate policies.

Crop yields and production are predicted to be significantly impacted by climate change worldwide. The precise form of these effects will vary depending on a number of variables, such as the concerned crop and region as well as the intensity and frequency of climate change-related events including droughts, floods, and extreme temperatures. The following are some possible effects of climate change on crop productivity and yield Yield The income return on an investment. This refers to the interest or dividends received from a security and is usually expressed annually as a percentage based on the investment’s cost, its current market value or its face value. :

  • Reduced crop yields: Higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and increased incidence of extreme weather events can all lead to reduced crop yields. For example, droughts can reduce soil moisture levels, making it harder for crops to grow, while heavy rainfall can lead to flooding and soil erosion, which can damage crops and reduce yields.
  • Changes in crop suitability and timing: As temperatures and weather patterns change, the suitability of certain crops for certain regions may also change. For example, some crops may no longer be viable in regions where temperatures have become too hot or where rainfall patterns have shifted. Additionally, changes in the timing of seasonal events such as flowering or fruiting can impact crop productivity and yield.
  • Increased pest and disease pressure: Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can also lead to changes in the distribution and prevalence of pests and diseases, which can negatively impact crop yields. For example, warming temperatures may lead to increased pest pressure, while wetter conditions can create a more hospitable environment for disease.
  • Impacts on soil health: Changes in temperature and precipitation can also impact soil health, which can in turn affect crop yields. For example, increased drought conditions can lead to soil degradation, while heavy rainfall can lead to soil erosion and nutrient loss.

Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, has had to cope with significant yield losses for all crop categories in the recent past. Given that it is also the world region with the highest poverty headcounts and rates of food insecurity, these reduced crop yields aggravate hunger for large numbers of people who depend directly on agricultural incomes or are vulnerable to highly volatile food prices.” Thus, it is anticipated that climate change will have a considerable impact on crop yields and productivity, which might have long-term ramifications for global food security and nutrition. In order to address these effects, a multidimensional strategy that incorporates both mitigation and adaptation plans as well as measures to support sustainable agriculture and safeguard vulnerable people would be needed.

Overview of estimated impacts on crop yield and agricultural productivity from over 150 studies [10]

Spatial distribution of predicted heat-related mortality impacts across the world in

Population With High Flood Risk
The population with high flood risk is a group of people who are living in areas that are vulnerable to flooding. This can include people living in coastal areas, floodplains, or areas with poor drainage or inadequate flood control infrastructure. According to the World Resources Institute, as of 2021, more than 1.2 billion people worldwide live in areas with high flood risk.

Share of population exposed to significant flood risk, top 10 countries with the highest exposure share in 2020 [12]

Some specific examples of populations with high flood risk are:

  • People living in coastal areas: As sea levels rise due to climate change, coastal areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding and storm surges. This can include both urban and rural communities, and can impact both developed and developing countries.
  • People living in floodplains: Many communities around the world are located in floodplains, which can be at high risk for river and flash flooding. This can include communities living near large rivers such as the Ganges, the Mekong, or the Amazon, as well as those living in smaller, more localized floodplains.
  • People living in areas with poor drainage: In some cases, communities may be at high risk for flooding due to poor drainage or inadequate flood control infrastructure. This can be a particular problem in urban areas, where impervious surfaces such as roads and buildings can exacerbate flooding.
  • People living in areas affected by extreme weather events: Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, typhoons, and monsoons can cause significant flooding in affected areas, putting local populations at risk.

It is alarming to note that “between 1902 and 2015, the mean global sea level rose by 0.16m. This rise was mostly driven by the melting of land ice and ice sheets, and to a lesser extent by thermal expansion of ocean water. The current pace of change is unprecedented over the last century. The rate of increase from 2006 to 2015 was 2.5 times faster than the rise observed from 1901 to 1990. This acceleration is driven by the increasingly rapid loss of ice mass from the Antarctic and Greenland sheets, which is taking place at an unforeseen pace. Ice-mass loss from the Antarctic sheet was three times faster between 2007 and 2016 than in the preceding decade. It is critical to note that a mean sea-level rise of 0.16m at the global level translates into strongly heterogeneous effects in different coastal areas and can lead to extreme coastal sea levels in certain regions, depending on various factors such as tidal forces, wave run-up, and wind.” [13]

Once again “at the global level, poor people are disproportionately exposed to rising sea levels. Rentschler, Salhab, and Jafino (2022) estimate that globally, 1.8 billion people are exposed to serious flood risk (all types of flooding, i.e. including fluvial and pluvial) and would face inundation depths of 0.15m or more in the case of a 1-in-100-year flood event. This corresponds to roughly 23% of the world population being at considerable risk of flooding. In absolute terms, China and India have the highest headcounts of flood exposure due to their large population size and long coastlines. Nine of the ten countries most exposed to significant risk of flooding are low-income or middle-income countries. The tenth, the Netherlands, has the highest share of population at risk, but it benefits from protection systems equipped to cope with more severe disasters than 1-in-100-year flooding events. This is not the case for the other countries listed here. At a sub-national level (ADM-1), the share of population at risk increases to over 80% in certain regions (e.g. in the Pool region in the DRC and the Red River Delta in Vietnam). The regions exposed to serious flood risk account for US$9.8 trillion of economic activity, which is equivalent to roughly 12% of global GDP GDP
Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product is an aggregate measure of total production within a given territory equal to the sum of the gross values added. The measure is notoriously incomplete; for example it does not take into account any activity that does not enter into a commercial exchange. The GDP takes into account both the production of goods and the production of services. Economic growth is defined as the variation of the GDP from one period to another.
(in 2020) being exposed to significant flood hazards. Of the 1.81 billion people at flood risk, 780 million live below the US$5.5 poverty line. Hence, roughly 43% of the people at flood risk are exposed to poverty at the same time, which is known to seriously reduce adaptive capacity and recovery after natural disasters.The overlap between poverty and flood risk is largest in Sub-Saharan Africa where 28% of the population are exposed to both burdens (using US$5.5/day as poverty definition)
.” [14]

Population share exposed to significant flood risk and poverty (using $5.5/day poverty line) across the world in 2020 [15]

Annual flood cost/GDP ratio with and without additional adaptation under different climate scenarios (Projected impacts in 2100) [16]

Overall, populations with high flood risk face a range of challenges, including the risk of property damage, displacement, and loss of life. Addressing these challenges will require a multifaceted approach that includes both mitigation and adaptation strategies, such as investing in flood control infrastructure, promoting sustainable land use practices, and supporting vulnerable communities with early warning systems, disaster preparedness training, and access to emergency services.

The Gross Domestic Product of a nation can be significantly impacted by climate change (GDP). The following are some ways that climate change may affect a nation’s GDP:

  • Infrastructure damage: Climate change-related disasters like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires can seriously harm a nation’s infrastructure, including its buildings, roads, and water and power systems. This may cause economic disruption and decreases in output, output quality, and employment.
  • Decreased agricultural productivity: A country’s agriculture industry, which in many cases makes up a considerable portion of GDP, can be significantly impacted by climate change. Reduced crop yields and livestock production can result from droughts, floods, and extremely high temperatures, which can directly affect the agriculture industry and the whole economy.
  • Costs of healthcare can also rise as a result of climate change, since hotter temperatures and shifting weather patterns can increase the incidence of respiratory disorders, infectious diseases like dengue fever, and infectious diseases like malaria. These expenses can be covered by governments, health insurance companies, families, and individuals.
  • Effects on tourism: A nation’s tourism industry, which in many nations contributes significantly to GDP, is susceptible to the effects of climate change. Typhoons and other severe weather can disrupt travel plans, while rising temperatures and altered weather patterns can deter travellers from visiting certain locations.

Population share exposed to significant flood risk and poverty (using $5.5/day
poverty line) across the world in 2020

Ultimately, a country’s GDP may experience considerable and far-reaching effects of climate change. A multifaceted strategy, including both adaptation and mitigation tactics, policies that protect vulnerable populations and encourage sustainable economic growth, will be needed to mitigate these effects.

Global carbon inequality: losses vs. emissions vs. capacity to finance [18]

Tackling Climate Change
Policies that promote clean energy, support public transportation, and encourage sustainable consumption can help to address carbon inequality by reducing emissions while also promoting a more equitable distribution of the benefits of sustainable development. Additionally, policies that target emissions from high-emitting industries and sectors can help to reduce disparities in emissions between regions or communities. Ultimately, addressing carbon inequality is a crucial component of building a sustainable and equitable future for all.

Furthermore, it is also important to recognize that individuals and communities at the bottom often lack the resources and political power to address climate change and mitigate its impacts. Therefore, addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be done in a way that is equitable and takes into account the needs and perspectives of all communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Addressing carbon inequality requires collective action at the global level to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable development. This includes measures such as transitioning to clean energy sources, promoting energy efficiency, and investing in adaptation and resilience measures for vulnerable communities. It also involves addressing broader issues of economic inequality and social justice, as these factors are closely intertwined with the distribution of carbon emissions and their impacts. Most importantly, it involves the dismantling of capitalism, a system that is based on the relentless pursuit of profit Profit The positive gain yielded from a company’s activity. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. , which in turn encourages a productivist model around the world.

Epilogue :Cancellation of Illegitimate Debt
Climate change and debt cancellation might appear as two separate issues, but they can be intimately linked. Debt cancellation can play a role in helping countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, particularly in developing countries that are most vulnerable to its effects. Here are some ways in which debt cancellation can support efforts to address climate change:

  1. Increased fiscal space: Debt cancellation can provide countries with increased fiscal space, which can be used to fund climate mitigation and adaptation projects. With fewer resources dedicated to debt servicing, countries can invest more in renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, and other climate-related initiatives.
  2. Reduced emissions: Debt cancellation can also help to reduce a country’s greenhouse gas emissions by allowing them to invest in cleaner and more sustainable technologies. For example, debt cancellation could enable a country to invest in renewable energy projects, such as wind or solar, which can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and lower their carbon footprint.
  3. Promoting sustainable development: Debt cancellation can also support efforts to promote sustainable development, which is essential for building resilience to the impacts of climate change. With debt relief, countries can invest in sustainable infrastructure, sustainable land use practices, and social safety nets that can help to support vulnerable populations during times of environmental stress.
  4. Addressing climate-induced displacement: Debt cancellation can also help to support efforts to address climate-induced displacement, which is expected to increase in the coming years as the impacts of climate change become more severe. By freeing up resources for adaptation and mitigation measures, debt relief can help to reduce the likelihood of displacement and support the needs of those who are forced to relocate due to environmental stressors.

It is important to note, however, that debt cancellation alone is not sufficient to address the challenges of climate change. Debt cancellation should be combined with other measures such as climate financing, technology transfer, and capacity building to support countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

It is also important to raise the issue of ecological debt and demand reparations.

All charts are reproduced from the Climate Inequality Report 2023.


[1The distribution of carbon emissions across the global population is very unequal. The current acceleration of anthropogenic climate change is largely driven by emission levels at the top of the distribution. Modelled estimates based on the systematic combination of household surveys, tax data, and environmental input-output tables. Emissions include footprints associated with consumption and investments. Values also take into account the carbon embedded in international trade. Sources: Chancel (2022)

[2This graph shows that carbon inequality is not just an issue of high- vs. low-emitting countries. Intra-regional inequalities in carbon emissions are also very pronounced. Modelled estimates based on the systematic combination of household surveys, tax data, and environmental input-output tables Emissions include footprints associated with consumption and investments. Values also take into account the carbon embedded in international trade. Sources: Chancel (2022).

[4The top 1% of global emitters are found to be responsible for almost one fourth of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. This contribution to emissions growth during the observed period significantly exceeds that of the entire bottom half of the global population. Lower and middle classes in high-income countries reduced their per capita footprints. Modelled estimates based on the systematic combination of household surveys, tax data, and environmental input-output tables. Emissions include footprints associated with consumption and investments. Values also take into account the carbon embedded in international trade. Sources: Chancel (2022).

[6In 1990, about 62% of the global inequality in individual carbon emissions was due to average emissions differences between countries. In 2019, the situation has reversed: 64% of the global inequality in emissions is now due to differences within countries. Results show a decomposition of global inequality as per the Theil index. Modelled estimates based on the systematic combination of household surveys, tax data, and environmental input-output tables. Emissions include footprints associated with consumption and investments. Values also take into account the carbon embedded in international trade. Sources: Chancel (2022).

[7Current energy consumption in most world regions exceeds the amount of energy theoretically required to provide universal decent living standards to all. This is true in particular for high-income regions. However, the share of total energy actually deployed for the provision of decent living standards is small in most regions. Therefore, redistributing energy use would make it possible to increase living standards for large population segments without increasing total energy consumption. Sources: Figure based on Fig. 4a from Kikstra et al. (2021).

[8There is a negative correlation between predicted changes in temperature variability and greenhouse gas emissions. On average, countries with comparatively low per capita emissions will experience stronger changes in temperature variability. Those countries that bear the highest responsibility for observed climate change tend to face moderate changes or variability reductions. Sources: Authors based on Fig 5b. from Bathiany et al. (2018)

[9Some world regions have already incurred agricultural productivity losses of more than 30% due to climate change since 1961 (relative to a world without climate change). These losses are strongest in areas that have contributed little to historical emissions and thus reinforce existing inequalities. Sources: Fig. 5 from Ortiz-Bobea et al. (2021).

[10There is strong scientific consensus regarding the observed impacts of climate change on agriculture. Overall, the effects are negative for most regions and crops. This is especially true in tropical and subtropical regions. Sources: see Fig. 5.3 IPCC (2022)

[11Many regions in the Global South will suffer heavy heat-related mortality increases by 2100. Many high-income countries in the North will experience positive mortality effects due to the reduced occurrence of extreme cold temperatures. Sources: Fig. 4 from Carleton et al. (2022).

[12Nine of the ten countries with the highest population share at significant flood risk are low- and middle-income countries. In some countries, including Bangladesh, more than half of the population is exposed to significant risk of flooding - often with insufficient protective measures. Sources: Fig. 3b from Rentschler, Salhab, and Jafino (2022).

[13Caretta et al., 2022, as quoted in Climate Inequality Report, 2023

[14Climate Inequality Report 2023

[15In many low-income regions, sizeable fractions of the population are exposed to the multifaceted risks of poverty and flooding simultaneously. Poverty reduces the capacity to adapt and react to natural disasters thus making the overlap between poverty and flood risk a major threat for the most affected regions. Sources: Illustration based on Rentschler, Salhab, and Jafino (2022).

[16Without additional mitigation and adaptive measures, recurring floods will cause damage worth more than 5% of GDP in some regions every year. High- and upper middle-income countries have the capacity to reduce damages significantly through adaptation programs, whereas low-income countries will incur high annual losses even with additional adaptation. Bars represent World Bank country income categories. Sources: see Fig. 6 Jevrejeva et al. (2018).

[17In many low-income regions, sizeable fractions of the population are exposed to the multi-faceted risks of poverty and flooding simultaneously. Poverty reduces the capacity to adapt and react to natural disasters thus making the overlap between poverty and flood risk a major threat for the most affected regions. Sources: Illustration based on Rentschler, Salhab, and Jafino (2022).

[18The graph shows that the bottom 50% of the world population contributes to 12% of global emissions but is exposed to 75% of relative income losses due to climate change. Emissions inequality data based on the World Inequality Database for 2019. Losses can be measured in many different ways. In this simple representation, we use country-level GDP losses (in 2030 and relative to a world without climate change) from Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel, 2015. We attribute, to each emitter group within each country, a per capita percentage income loss score. We assume that the bottom 40% of the distribution is 20% more exposed to losses than the average population in a given country, a conservative estimate based on recent studies (see Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017 for eg.). The sum of these loss scores, weighted by population, gives a total global relative income loss burden, which is distributed across groups of emitters. These estimates of the global inequality in income losses should be interpreted with great care given the stylized approach taken to construct them. They nonetheless provide a useful representation of the large global inequality in climate change impacts found in the literature. Sources: Authors based on World Inequality Database and own calculations.

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