An international study led by researchers from the University of Leeds studied global energy inequality of income classes from 86 countries. The study concluded that the richest ten percent of people consume nearly 20 times more energy than the bottom ten percent.
The researchers combined World Bank and European Union data to analyze how diverse economic classes spend their money. The collective information was used to calculate the distribution of carbon footprints, along with the type of energy-intensive goods and services the different groups pay for. Researchers claim that this is the first study of its kind.
The study reveals that “energy footprints grow with expenditure” as a result – energy consummation is economically unequal. In simple terms, as an individual’s income rises the individual spends more of this increased money on energy-intensive goods mainly in travel.
The study concluded that the majority of energy consumption came from Gulf travel. The results indicate that just from the wealthiest 10% transport, this exclusive group consumes more than half the energy expended in transportation of the 86 countries. To present this in comprehensible numbers, the top 10% economically consume 187 times more fuel than the poorest 10%.
Julia Steinberger, a co-author of the study and leader of the Living Well Within Limits project stated, “There needs to be a 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.”
Sources: Environment Journal 3/17/20; BBC News 3/16/20