Are you one of the 10%?

The Herald on Sunday - - NEWS FOCUS -

AN­DER­SON fre­quently crit­i­cises what he calls “the Cli­mate Glit­terati”, those who talk about sav­ing the planet even as they use up their air miles; those who are, for all their talk, among the 10 per cent who are re­spon­si­ble for half the world’s emis­sions. But these aren’t just the likes of Al Gore, Leonardo Di­Caprio, and other house­hold names. They’re the pro­fes­sors, the jour­nal­ists, the busi­ness peo­ple, the politi­cians, and other fig­ures we see in Scot­tish life.

So, who ex­actly are the 10 per cent? Many read­ers of this news­pa­per will be. Do you run a large car? Do you live in a house rather than a flat? Do you take a re­turn flight more than once a year? You’re likely one of them. In fact, one re­turn flight ev­ery year and you’re prob­a­bly bor­der­line. And, if you’re not, given the de­mo­graph­ics of this pa­per’s read­er­ship, you’re prob­a­bly one of the 20 per cent who pro­duce 70 per cent of the emis­sions.

This isn’t to say that ev­ery­one in Scot­land is to blame and that ev­ery­one should be re­duc­ing their emis­sions, for An­der­son be­lieves that in Scot­land, as glob­ally, there are those liv­ing in poverty who should be in­creas­ing their emis­sions. Those, in Scot­land, on the me­dian in­come and be­low, he says, should not be bear­ing the brunt of what we need to do.

He says: “Those peo­ple are rel­a­tively low emit­ters, with very odd ex­cep­tions. They’ll be liv­ing in small houses, of­ten rented, of­ten not very ef­fi­cient but they won’t be heat­ing ev­ery room. If they have a car it will be a small car and they won’t drive so far. They won’t con­sume as many goods.

“They’ll prob­a­bly very sel­dom if ever fly. Ev­ery el­e­ment of their life is much lower car­bon than us pro­fes­sors, or jour­nal­ists, or busi­ness peo­ple, who live in larger houses and drive more and fly more and con­sume more goods and more food. Yet, no politi­cian has as yet been pre­pared to ac­knowl­edge that and say well we need to tai­lor our poli­cies to­wards those peo­ple who are the high emit­ters.”

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