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Why do rich people not have to take their climate responsibility?

The very rich get a free ticket from climate responsibility. In the European Commission’s proposal for new legislation, they get several different exceptions and free access. The richest percent of the world emits twice as much as the poorest half of the world’s population.

Let think about the numbers a little

The richest account for fifteen percent of the world’s total emissions. They are responsible for the climate crisis we are now in the middle of, and must therefore also contribute significantly more than they are doing today to stop its progress.

It is often said that everyone must be involved and contribute to climate change. That’s right, we can all contribute.

But the responsibility is not equally divided between rich and poor. The rich part of the world, and the rich in society, thus account for the largest emissions.

Therefore, the responsibility rests extra heavily on those whose consumption, investment and living have contributed more to the climate crisis we are in. The richest cannot escape responsibility for their emissions.

That is why the EU’s exemption for the very richest is a disgrace. It damages confidence in climate policy and risks undermining all the work that the rest of us are fighting for. Many of us raised our eyebrows when we analyzed the European Commission’s climate package “Fit for 55”.

The very rich get a free ticket from climate responsibility and have in the Commission’s proposal for new legislation received several different exceptions and free access. Let’s take three examples:

Luxury Cars

Luxury cars are exempt from emission requirements. The European Commission wants to reduce emissions on new cars by tightening the requirements for car manufacturers and banning the sale of new petrol cars from 2035.

At the same time, small luxury brands that sell cars to the people with the highest incomes in society are exempt from the regulations.

It is about the companies that produce less than 1,000 cars per year exempting the emission requirements in the Commission proposal. Both a Volvo V90 and a luxury Koenigsegg should pay for their emissions on equal terms.


EU legislation has already provided for exemptions for heavy-duty private cars. The regulations have contributed to many car brands investing heavily in SUVs in recent years. Manufacturers such as BMW, through the exception, have lighter emission requirements than others that produce lighter and more climate-friendly cars. In the new bill, the exception remains.

Private Jets

Private jets are exempt from aviation fuel tax. The European Commission also wants to introduce a tax on aviation fuel. The Commission proposes that it should not take effect until 10 years from now, and in addition, private jets are exempted from the proposed minimum levels.

They will also be able to avoid the obligation to reduce aviation fuel to be introduced at the EU level. Why should companies and private individuals flying private jets not be taxed, when the charter plane for summer holidays has to pay?

That the European Commission wants to give the richest of us in the EU a free ticket from climate responsibility by promoting climate-abusing luxury consumption is completely unacceptable.

Climate justice is also lacking in the Commission’s proposal on EU emissions trading. Large companies in parts of the industry may continue to emit as usual, when the free allocation of emission rights remains for certain sectors.

At the same time, ordinary people with old cars or poorly insulated houses must pay more for climate change when the idea is that heating houses and emissions from transport should be covered by emissions trading.

Climate change should be fair

There should be more redistribution of resources within the EU and the exemptions for the richest are removed.

The richest must take the lead in the transition. They can afford to rearrange their lives in a way that not everyone else has. It is unreasonable that luxury cars and private jets are excluded, and that large companies are given free access through the free allocation in emissions trading.

Everyone must contribute. No one can escape, least of all the richest who have caused the most damage

One Comment

  1. bernt&torsten bernt&torsten Post author | 2022-04-18

    Great Picture

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