Published July 07, 2009
They already pay the most when it comes to taxes, and if a group of scientists have their way, the wealthy could soon be on the hook for their greenhouse emissions, too.
It's a plan that's being floated in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which suggests an easy way around the ongoing debate between rich and poor nations about who should bear the brunt of having to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to shift the focus to the number of rich people a country has.
The idea is that rich folks throw off more greenhouse gases because they're more likely to drive gas guzzlers, travel more frequently by airplane and live in large homes that require more energy to heat and cool.
As such, countries with higher concentrations of wealthy people would be subject to carbon emission targets.
"You're distributing the task of doing something about emissions reduction based on the proportion of the population in the country that's actually doing the most damage," Princeton Environment Institute's Shoibal Chakravarty, one of the study's authors, told Reuters.