Wealthier people produce more carbon pollution — even the “green” ones

Read the full story in Vox.

One of the perennial debates in environmentalism, which has transferred over to the climate change discussion, is what role personal choices play in the grand scheme of things. Can consumer decisions play a substantial role in reducing emissions? Are people who are concerned about global warming obliged to reduce their own carbon footprint? Is emitting carbon a personal sin (so to speak) as well as a social one?

I have always been a skeptic about the role of personal choices in the climate fight, and a recent study has helped crystallize why. To put it in a nutshell: One’s environmental impact is primarily determined by structural features of one’s life circumstances, especially socioeconomic status.

Or to put it more bluntly: Rich people emit more carbon, even when they recycle and buy canvas tote bags full of organic veggies.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.