Global carbon inequality

Hubacek, K., Baiocchi, G., Feng, K., Muñoz Castillo, R., Sun, L. & Xue, J., Dec-2017, In : Energy, Ecology and Environment. 2, 6, p. 361-369 9 p.

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  • ORIGINAL ARTICLEGlobal carbon inequality

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  • Klaus Hubacek
  • Giovanni Baiocchi
  • Kuishuang Feng
  • Raúl Muñoz Castillo
  • Laixiang Sun
  • Jinjun Xue
Global climate change and inequality are inescapably linked both in terms of who contributes climate change and who suffers the consequences. This fact is also partly reflected in two United Nations (UN) processes: on the one hand, the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change under which countries agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 {\textdegree}C above pre-industrial levels and, on the other hand, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals aiming to end poverty. These agreements are seen as important foundation to put the world nations on a sustainable pathway. However, how these agreements can be achieved or whether they are even mutually compatible is less clear. We explore the global carbon inequality between and within countries and the carbon implications of poverty alleviation by combining detailed consumer expenditure surveys for different income categories for a wide range of countries with an environmentally extended multi-regional input--output approach to estimate carbon footprints of different household groups, globally, and assess the carbon implications of moving the poorest people out of poverty. Given the current context, increasing income leads to increasing carbon footprints and makes global targets for mitigating greenhouse gases more difficult to achieve given the pace of technological progress and current levels of fossil fuel dependence. We conclude that the huge level of carbon inequality requires a critical discussion of undifferentiated income growth. Current carbon-intensive lifestyles and consumption patterns need to enter the climate discourse to a larger extent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy, Ecology and Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2017

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