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Why Does It Seem Rich People Don’t Care About Climate Change?

More than ever, it has been proven that climate change is a real issue. It has affected the whole planet and all of us on it, rich and poor alike. It is more than obvious that if the climate continues to get worse, everyone will suffer from it, irrespective of income levels.

First, let’s take a look at the principal cause of climate change: greenhouse gas emissions. Too much carbon dioxide is being released into the air which is causing the average global temperature to rise considerably. Now if we consider the sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one can conclude that humans are one of the main sources. As consumers, humans use a lot of products that release CO2 into the air. According to some experts, since the Industrial Revolution, human sources of CO2 emissions have been growing. Human activities such as the burning of oil, coal, and gas, as well as deforestation are the primary causes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

Research shows that 87% of all human-produced CO2 emissions comes from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil. The remainder results from the clearing of forests and other land use changes (9%), as well as some industrial processes such as cement manufacturing (4%). By far, the largest manmade source of CO2 emissions is the combustion of fossil fuels. Burning these fuels releases energy, which is most commonly turned into heat, electricity, or power for transportation. Examples of such uses are in power plants, cars, planes, and in industrial facilities. In 2011, fossil fuel use created 33.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions worldwide.

One of the best ways to fight greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is being released in the atmosphere. To do that, we have to take action. There are several solutions that have been proposed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is being released in the air every single day. We can reduce, reuse, recycle, and use less heat and air conditioning in our homes; we can replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs; we might drive less and when we do, be more efficient by carpooling; we could consume more energy-efficient products, use less hot water, use the “off” switch more often, plant trees, get a report card from our utility company, and encourage others to conserve.

Even though everyone can do something to solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, it seems like we don’t really want to do what we are supposed to do. However, it may be argued that among us, there are some who have more power to fight against this issue than others. The products that produce vast amounts of carbon dioxide are manufactured by companies owned by wealthy people. Therefore, one can argue that the rich have more responsibility for climate change.

According to an article, the world’s richest people emit the most carbon dioxide. Also, it’s been proven which countries emit the most carbon dioxide and thus contribute the most to climate change. If these wealthy few are the ones who are putting the world in the most danger, they should be the ones who should be the most concerned about it; yet it seems they are not doing anything to fight it. The wealthiest among us have airplanes, cars, yachts, big houses, etc., and they are also the ones who own these industrial companies with heavy fossil fuel emissions. These executives can decide that they are going to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by changing the way they produce. Ultimately, though, it seems that the rich do not care about the climate issue as doing so might infringe upon their wealth.


Le Quéré, C., A. K. Jain, M. R. Raupach, J. Schwinger, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, N. Viovy, S. Zaehle, C. Huntingford, P. Friedlingstein, R. J. Andres, T. Boden, C. Jourdain, T. Conway, R. A. Houghton, J. I. House, G. Marland, G. P. Peters, G. Van Der Werf, A. Ahlström, R. M. Andrew, L. Bopp, J. G. Canadell, E. Kato, P. Ciais, S. C. Doney, C. Enright, N. Zeng, R. F. Keeling, K. Klein Goldewijk, S. Levis, P. Levy, M. Lomas, and B. Poulter. “The global carbon budget 1959–2011.” Earth System Science Data Discussions 5, no. 2 (2012): 1107-1157.


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