The personal fortunes of just 782 of the world's wealthiest people could power half the world—Africa, Latin America, and "most of Asia"—with 100 percent renewable energy within 15 years, according to anew report. Broken down by continent, it would take the wealth of just 53 rich people to power all of Africa, and a mere 32 prosperous people could plug in the vast majority of Latin America.
The analysis from Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) does not argue "that the wealth of these particular individuals can or should be directly used to drive the needed energy transformation," the figures do reveal "a gross injustice" when it comes to global inequality that should serve as "a shocking and stark reminder that the finance for an energy transformation is certainly available."
The report points out: "The political will to drive the transformation is, on the other hand, shockingly absent," as evidenced by "weak pledges of emission reductions" issued ahead of COP21 climate change negotiations scheduled to begin later this month.
"Climate change is a symptom of the dysfunction of the current system, especially the way that we produce, distribute, and consume energy," the report reads. "An energy system that fails to provide for billions of people now is clearly a major cause of catastrophic climate change and sky-high levels of inequality, all at the same time."
"This report is a wake up call for policy makers and governments," said FOEI program coordinator Sam Cossar-Gilbert. "Our world faces two destructive and entwined crises—growing inequality and climate change. The time has come to address them together."
Dipti Bhatnagar, FOEI climate justice and energy coordinator, declared: "Business as usual is now longer an option. We need an energy revolution."
Climate change will increase hunger as food prices rise and food production falters, but we already have widespread hunger on Earth, and much of it is due not to the failures of nature and farmers, but to the capitalist system of distribution.