“It’s not untrue that some wealth is at risk, but in affluent countries, it’s not a reason for government inaction because it would be so cheap for governments to compensate that.”
A rapid reduction in fossil fuels, essential to avoid devastating climate breakdown, would have minimal financial impact on the vast majority of people, new research has shown.
They argue that rapidly scaling back fossil fuel production would leave billions of pounds of “stranded assets”, leading to an economic slump that would impoverish the public through a fall in the value of savings and pension funds.
“We find that the bulk of financial losses associated with rotten, polluting assets is borne by the wealthy,” said the co-author Lucas Chancel, a professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris. “Only a small share of financial losses is borne by the working and middle class because they have no or relatively little financial wealth.”
The study found that in the US, two-thirds of the financial losses from lost fossil fuel assets would affect the top 10% of wealth holders, with half of that affecting the top 1%
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