should we look to the elite for climate solutions?

According to what I read at Treehugger, the rich are to blame for climate chaos.

“For example, the average American’s carbon footprint is 2000 times bigger than the average person living in Chad. The average British [sic] emits more carbon in a day than the average Kenyan emit in a year. It gets worse! Did you know that the top 20% wealthiest people contribute 80% of greenhouse gases? Or that the top 7% are responsible for half of all carbon emissions?”

This all adds fuel to my revolutionary fire, but a counter argument that has been gaining some ground goes like this – if the rich are responsible for so much of the problem, we should work with them to solve it. This is based on the rather dubious ‘offsetting’ programmes that seem to abound, but that to one side, does this general approach make sense? Is it pragmatic?

“Most people see this as a reason to loathe the affluent, but wouldn’t it make more sense to see them as an enormous opportunity to create fast and dramatic change for global warming? If the 20% well-to-do offset their CO2 emssions by 50%, that would mean an overall decrease of 40%.”

Everything within me rankles at this suggestion, but I wonder if I’m just to idealistic? Can the wealthy really just buy us out of this mess?

The Belgrave Trust – HT Treehugger.


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