Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rich's carbon emissions doubles the poor's

The more we learn about the impact of global warming, the more it is apparent that the poor are going to bear the brunt of it.

We see that in Bangladesh. And in Australia. New research on carbon footprints across the socio-economic spectrum here, reveals that:

At a relatively low carbon price of $25 a tonne of greenhouse pollution, poor families around Australia would be paying about $558 a year more on their bills, while the wealthiest households would pay around $1446 extra.

But once those extra costs are adjusted to take into consideration income levels, as a proportion of their total spending, poor people could pay almost seven times more than the rich.
clipped from www.theage.com.au

Unlike previous studies, the research for the Brotherhood of St Laurence takes into account the indirect greenhouse gas emissions from producing everyday goods and services, from food and clothes to watching television, drinking alcohol and catching a plane.

The research found that wealthy, tertiary-educated households had by far the biggest "carbon footprint" in Australia, generating almost 58 tonnes of greenhouse pollution a year.

In contrast, poor families were only responsible for 22 tonnes of emissions, with pensioners and people living on welfare also recording the lowest carbon footprints. The national average was 32 tonnes a year.

The difference largely mirrors income, with the wealthiest households spending $1900 a week (excluding rent), while poor families spend just $468.

The analysis was conducted by the Melbourne-based National Institute of Economic and Industry Research.

The last word goes to the executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony Nicholson, who commissioned the analysis.

"This is a great opportunity, because if we seriously address climate change we can also do a lot to address entrenched disadvantage," Mr Nicholson said.

"For instance, we're advocating a national rental incentive scheme for landlords to make private rental properties more energy efficient, because we know many disadvantaged people have high energy bills because their homes aren't properly insulated.

"Australia has a national roads strategy; why don't we have a national public transport policy? More disadvantaged people tend to have older cars that consume a lot of fuel, and many live on the outskirts of cities and in country towns. So by improving public transport, you address both problems at once."

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