8 april 2021

[4C note: We received the following letter today from Stephan Singer, Senior Climate Science and Global Energy Policy Advisor at the Climate Action Network International, in which 4C has "observer" status. ]

Dear all,

We are living in an extremely unequal world. Almost 1 billion people go hungry to bed each day, 2.1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water, almost 10% of people are living below extreme poverty line. And almost a quarter of all below a “modest” poverty line. About 2 billion people have no access to clean, reliable and affordable energy supply. About 12 million people die annually prematurely, both from fossil fuels air pollution and in-door air pollution mainly from inefficient use of woody biomass for cooking. In the pandemic, poverty did and will grow unfortunately. The world we do not want.

But what is is super-perverse, is the record growth of wealth of the super-rich, particularly the billionaires during the pandemic. And extremely in the USA. Can you imagine, that about 2750 billionaires, most of them in USA and China, grew their wealth by about USD 5.1 trillion between autumn 2019 and autumn 2020? Forbes’ 35th Annual World’s Billionaires List: Facts And Figures 2021 . About 6.5% of global GDP. About 9 times the world is investing annually in renewables and energy efficiency. And with literally no wealth taxes. Billionaires grew wealth globally by almost 50 times (NOT %) since 1987.

Number of Billionaires and combined net worth
[4C Note: We are unable to copy the graph from this letter, but it shows an increase, irregular occasionally, between ]40 billionaires with
$295 billion in 1987 to 2,755 billionaires with $13.1 trillion in 2021. The largest single increase - about 50% - appears between the pandemic year of 2020 and the present moment.


We need wealth taxes for the (super)rich in all countries, I’d say going beyond the billionaires and for the top rich 10% in each country – that will help to leverage cash both for domestic and international financing for health, adaptation, renewables, energy efficiency, research, ecosystem protection and restoration and overall SDG compliance. CAN needs to strongly speak out on that please.



Dr Stephan Singer; Senior Climate Science and Global Energy Policy Advisor, Climate Action Network International, Brussels

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