Article by Poem Schway
Who’s most responsible for climate change? Fewer people than you think
Here are the facts:
- 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by 100 fossil fuel companies.
- Of those 100, the top twenty are responsible for more than a third of all emissions.
- Worldwide, only a tenth of the world’s population can account for nearly half of carbon pollution.
- And of the entire population, the richest 1% is responsible for a greater carbon footprint than the poorest 50%.
It’s undeniable that a handful of the world’s elites are causing the most damage to our planet. What’s their motivation? Money. Why aren’t more people trying to stop them? Also money. In the United States alone, the fossil fuel industry earns more than 110 billion dollars annually. Eco-friendly legislation would hurt their profits, so their strategy is to aggressively lobby politicians. According to The Guardian, UK ministers ‘met fossil fuel firms nine times as often as clean energy ones’. Similarly, Joe Manchin, chair of the US Senate Energy Committee, raked in over $400,000/£290,470 in the past few months solely from fossil fuel donations. Not only are the world’s top polluters aware that they’re killing the planet, they’re willing to do almost anything to keep it that way.
“Species are disappearing before our eyes and politicians are apathetic, however collective change IS happening and people CAN create thriving, nature-centered futures.”
Take back our planet
If we can’t rely on politicians to do the right thing, the only option left is to rely on ourselves. We are the majority: 56% of Britons want their country to reduce fossil fuel emissions faster, and 67% of Americans want their government to do more to combat the effects of climate change. So what can we do?
- Sign petitions. It might seem small, but studies suggest that petitioning can increase voter turnout and help transition people from lurking to actively participating. It’s also great for raising awareness – on many sites, the more popular a petition becomes, the more likely it is that otherwise unaffiliated viewers will see it. This petition on Greenpeace asserting that we are in a climate emergency, for example, already has more than a million signatures!
- Protest. Obviously, safety comes first during the pandemic, but the effect of taking to the streets cannot be understated. According to research, by increasing public support, climate protesters can “shift public opinion, turn bystanders into movement participants, and put pressure on policy makers and other elites”; additionally, findings suggest that protesting has “an effect on state-level carbon emissions.” When it is safe to do so, you can use this global map by Fridays For Future to find a protest near you.
- Find or establish a local community. The goal is to help the world, but that starts with helping your town or city. This link is a great tool for finding like-minded groups near you, but if one doesn’t exist, don’t be afraid of creating your own! Through the power of the internet, banding together is now easier than ever.
WHAT IS REWRITING EXTINCTION?
We’re devoting the next 12 months of our lives to raising the money and awareness we need to stop species going extinct, and to put them back into recovery.
Our project brings together the best projects and thinking from 7 charities and a whole slew of experts from across the planet. Let this be the moment we say “NO MORE EXTINCTION” and start rebuilding their world, for all our benefits.
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By Cara Delevingne, EcoResolution, Dami Lee, and Paul Goodenough