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Use next Scottish budget to make richest polluters ‘clean up their acts,’ campaigners say

CAMPAIGNERS have demanded that the next Scottish budget be used to make the richest polluters “clean up their acts.”

The call followed a report from anti-poverty charity Oxfam showing how much the lifestyles of the wealthy and climate change are connected.

Based on research conducted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the report found that the richest 1 per cent emit as much carbon dioxide as the poorest two-thirds of the population of the planet — a staggering 16 per cent of global emissions. 

Oxfam senior climate justice policy adviser Chiara Liguori accused the richest 1 per cent of “plundering the planet,” adding: “The gap between the super-rich and the rest of us is stark.

“It would take about 1,500 years for someone in the bottom 99 per cent to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires do in a year. This is fundamentally unfair.

“Governments globally, including the UK, need to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change, by targeting the excessive emissions of the super-rich by taxing them more.”

Further Oxfam research shows that the British government missed out on opportunities to implement “common-sense taxes” targeting fossil fuel companies and the super-rich that could have not only curbed polluting behaviour but raised as much as £23 billion in revenue.

Ahead of the SNP-Green Scottish government publishing its draft Budget next month, the charity’s Scottish arm has demanded that ministers use their powers to tax the wealthiest, not only to tackle inequality but to curb the polluting behaviours of the richest 1 per cent.

Oxfam Scotland’s Jamie Livingstone said: “Climate culpability is crystal clear: around the world and here in Scotland, the climate crisis is being driven disproportionately by the excessive lifestyles of the richest people.

“Meanwhile, globally, people living in poverty who have barely contributed to the climate emergency are losing their lives, livelihoods and homes.

“If the First Minister is to build and maintain critical public support for the depth and speed of transition that’s needed, climate action must be patently fair.

“That means he must do everything in his power to compel the richest to clean up their acts while paying the bill for the damage they’re causing.”

A  spokesperson for the Scottish government spokesperson said that it was “committed to tackling the climate emergency urgently and fairly.

“While the majority of taxes remain reserved to the UK government, we are committed to using the limited powers we do have to help meet our climate targets.”


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