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Shift the focus from the super-poor to the super-rich

Carbon mitigation efforts often focus on the world’s poorest people, dealing with topics such as food and energy security, and increased emissions potential from projected population, income and consumption growth. However, more policies are needed that target people at the opposite end of the social ladder — the super-rich.

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The authors acknowledge comments on the research received from F. Wätzold, K. Vinke, J. Sendzimir, V. Hüzeir, T. Garcia and A. Schuster as well as funding from the Earth League alliance. This work has been carried out within the Copan: Co-evolutionary Pathways Research Group at PIK. N.D. is an independent artist and author of the international educational platform Anthropology For Kids (

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Correspondence to Ilona M. Otto.

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Fig. 1: The estimated carbon footprint of a typical super-rich household of two people.