Is inequality bad for the environment?
That equality matters in terms of health and happiness has been clear for some years. But it is also better for the environment. The evidence (which is still emerging) suggests the most unequal affluent countries contribute more to climate change via pollution than their more equal counterparts. A large section of their people may suffer more, too. A new report predicts the United States will see its levels of economic inequality increase due to the uneven geographical effects of climate change – resulting in “the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the country’s history”, according the study’s lead author. In a 2016 report, Oxfam found that the greatest polluters of all were the most affluent 10% of US households: each emitted, on average, 50 tonnes of CO2 per household member per year. In short, people in more equal rich countries consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon, on average. Consumption and waste Eating meat Water Carbon dioxide Transport Air travel