Inequality is growing about as fast as the world is warming. That’s no coincidence, according to the latest analysis of the global wealth gap by Oxfam. As the bank accounts of the rich grow, so too does the environmental devastation they wreak through ravenous consumption: The richest 62 people have as much money as half the world’s population. And that lopsided distribution of capital is throwing the world’s ecology off-balance as well.
The Oxfam report on the wealth gap should be read in tandem with a separate report issued to inform the debate around the Paris climate summit. The accord the conference produced centered on a deeply inadequate voluntarily baseline goal to cap the global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius. The compromised goal rich nations negotiated stemmed from a combination of corporate greed and political cowardice.