The study suggests setting a uniform international cap on how much carbon dioxide each person could emit in order to limit global emissions; since rich people emit more, they are the ones likely to reach or exceed this cap, whether they live in a rich country or a poor one. For example, if world leaders agree to keep carbon emissions in 2030 at the same level they are now, no one person's emissions could exceed 11 tons of carbon each year. That means there would be about a billion "high emitters" in 2030 out of a projected world population of 8.1 billion.
By counting the emissions of all the individuals likely to exceed this level, world leaders could provide target emissions cuts for each country. Currently, the world average for individual annual carbon emissions is about 5 tons; each European produces 10 tons and each American produces 20 tons. With international climate talks set to start this week in Italy among the countries that pollute the most, the authors hope policymakers will look at the strong link between how rich people are and how much carbon dioxide they emit.
EVERYONE in Europe or America would be considered "rich" under this plan.
Is this a limousine-and-yacht tax on the rich? Not necessarily, Chakravarty said, but he did not rule it out: "We are not by any means proposing that. If some country finds a way of doing that, it's great."