Is global warming the fault of the rich?

Interesting blog post by TonyDGreens, or at least that’s the name by which he’s known on Twitter – a local Green Party activist, I believe. I met him at the Vegan Fayre (although I don’t think he is one).
An analysis has been done of carbon emissions by postcode in the UK. Bristol – or to be more accurate the Bristol postcode area which stretches some way outside the city’s boundaries – have 12 in the top 1000, and 12 in the bottom 1000.
Here’s the list (with credit to Tony for directly lifting this from his blog).

The 12 BS postcodes with the highest carbon emissions per household are:

1) BS9 1 Stoke Bishop, Sneyd Park at 28.88 tonnes of carbon per year
2) BS8 3 Clifton, Abbots Leigh, Failand at 28.59
3) BS40 8 Winford, Chew Magna at 28.25
4) BS48 3 Backwell, Barrow Gurney at 27.94
5) BS32 4 Almondsbury, Tockington at 27.65
6) BS48 4 Nailsea, Brockley, Backwell at 27.57
7) BS6 7 Westbury, Redland at 27.5
8) BS9 3 Westbury-on-Trym at 27.45
9) BS28 4 Wedmore, Blackford, Theale at 27.21
10) BS40 5 Wrington, Langford, Redhill at 27.1
11) BS20 8 Portishead, Weston-in-Gordano at 26.68
12) BS31 3 Saltford at 26.28

Whilst the 12 BS postcodes with the lowest carbon emissions per household are:

1) BS2 0 St Philips, St Philip’s Marsh at 15.63
2) BS13 0 Hartcliffe at 16.01
3) BS5 0 Easton, Lawrence Hill at 16.63
4) BS13 9 Withywood at 16.81
5) BS5 9 Redfield, Barton Hill at 17
6) BS23 1 Beach Road, Weston super Mare at 17.06
7) BS11 0 Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston at 17.08
8) BS4 1 Knowle at 17.2
9) BS23 3 Locking Road, Weston super Mare at 17.73
10) BS2 8 Kingsdown, St Pauls, St James at 17.87
11) BS13 8 Bishopsworth at 18.3
12) BS10 5 Westbury-on-Trym, Southmead at 18.41

For those unfamiliar with the Bristol area, those in the top 12 are, I think without exception, either in the rural areas outside the city or in the very wealthiest parts of Bristol. Those in the bottom 12 are generally inner-city or estates with high levels of social and economic deprivation. (I don’t know about the places in Weston). Numbers 1, 3 and 5 in the bottom 12 are in my constituency, whilst numbers 2, 4 and 8 are in Dawn Primarolo’s constituency of Bristol South.
As Tony says, and I hope he’ll forgive me for the direct lift:
“The obvious, and depressing conclusion looking at the two lists is that, in general, people’s effect upon the environment has much more to do with their level of disposable income than with any conscious effort to behave in a more environmentally aware manner – a conclusion that has been apparent to most of us in the environmental movement for some time. Simply put, and allowing for some rare exceptions, the richer people are, the more they pollute.”
It would be interesting to see a breakdown of this. How much is down to flying, and car ownership, and how much is down to greater consumption of consumer goods and higher fuel bills because they’ve got bigger homes? And does this signal that personal carbon trading schemes, as once floated by David Miliband and still I think ‘being explored’ by Government, might be a good tool for not just tackling emissions but tackling poverty too?
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