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Abstract: According to many studies greenhouse gas emissions attributable to a person or to a household increase with growing income. On the global level, a well-paid quarter of the population generates around three quarters of the total carbon dioxide emissions. The suffering from the disastrous effects of climate change, on the other hand, is distributed in the opposite direction. The conditions of the low income groups are usually not taken into account when climate policy is planned. In most cases, climate policies tend to put the heaviest burden on the poor, or benefit them the least. The connection between high incomes and high emissions means that people are rewarded for what is regarded as good or well-performed work with a licence to do harm making a disproportionately large contribution to climate change. To rectify this preposterous state of affairs one could consider changing the whole reward system by separating rewards from livelihood.
Keywords: economic inequality, climate injustice, climate and social policy, reward system
Narrative step: Visions and strategies for transformation