Join the campaign for Climate Justice – let's Make Rich Polluters Pay!

The climate crisis is here and now, wrecking the lives of millions of people worldwide. Every day, the devastating impacts of climate change are being felt, but not equally. People facing poverty, who did the least to cause the crisis, are suffering the most. Discrimination means that it’s often women who pay the highest price, while young people everywhere are seeing their futures stolen. All the while the richest people and corporations are plundering the planet and polluting for profit, watching the rest of us suffer.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A more equal and sustainable world is possible. One where any of us at risk from the climate crisis have what we need to survive extreme weather and build a better future.

The biggest polluters, who are raking in record profits and amassing huge fortunes, must pay for the climate crisis they are creating and the costs of building a fairer future. We can raise the trillions of dollars needed to tackle the climate crisis if we make rich polluters pay!

Dear World Leaders,

People everywhere are suffering from the climate crisis, while the biggest polluters become even more wealthy. It is only fair to hold these polluters to account for the damage they are causing.

We ask you to tax the richest polluters and use that money to support those communities most impacted by the climate crisis and to cover the costs of building a fairer future.


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The richest people, corporations and countries, who hold the greatest responsibility for the climate crisis, must shoulder the greatest burden of the climate debt.

  • Wealthy countries’ emissions over the last 100 years dwarf those of low-income nations.
  • Fossil fuel corporations are responsible for 70% of global industrial emissions and have been making record profits over the last few years.

The world’s richest 1% has burned through twice as much carbon as the poorest half of humanity since the 1990s. Meanwhile billionaires are generating a million times more emissions than the average person through their investments.

There are many ways that governments can make the richest polluters pay. For example…

  • Taxing the ‘polluter elite’: Taxes on the income and wealth of the richest 1% could generate $9 trillion to invest in a green, equal future. By targeting the income and wealth generated from polluting industries, these taxes can discourage investors for putting their money in companies that are fueling the climate crisis.
  • Taxing polluting corporations: Governments should tax the excess profits of companies that are caused by their excessive control over the market, and should charge an additional higher rate of tax on corporate profits from polluting investments. Oxfam and Action Aid analysis shows that a tax of 50–90% on the windfall profits of 722 mega-corporations could have generated up to US$941bn. Governments should also stop paying corporate handouts to fossil fuel companies in rich countries.

People in low-income groups must be protected from paying the costs of the climate crisis that is not of their making.

  • This year, governments around the world will agree a new global climate finance goal. At COP29 this November, they need to commit $2.6 trillion (TBC) a year that’s needed to turn the tide on the climate crisis. This a fraction of the $7 trillion that governments spend on subsiding fossil fuel sector. We need people around the world to unite, stand up and demand their governments pay their fair share towards tackling climate change.
  • This year, billions of people around the world will also face a choice in electing their governments and political representatives. Your voice can have more influence on political candidates who are seeking your vote – use it to demand action for climate justice.

Governments should use the money raised from rich polluters to compensate communities being hit hardest by the climate crisis, yet, contributed the least to it, and to fund a just transition, both at home and around the world.

  • Loss and damage: Last year, world leaders agreed a new fund to compensate communities on the frontlines of the crisis for the losses and damages they’ve incurred from climate change. Now governments need to commit to filling the fund with at least $400 billion a year.
  • Adaptation: Urgent action is needed to fill the gap in climate adaptation funding, to help communities adapt to climate impacts. The UNEP estimates that $340 billion a year is needed.
  • A Just Transition towards a sustainable future: Our world is at a turning point – time is running out to drastically cut global emissions if we are to avoid the climate crisis spiralling out of control, with catastrophic consequences for all of us. It’s not too late, but a fast and fair transition from fossil fuels to clean energy depends on finding trillions to make it happen.

Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of climate change, which deepens existing gender inequalities and poses unique threats to their livelihoods, health, and safety. For example, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources and have to work harder during periods of drought and erratic rainfall.  In the wake of climate disasters, young girls can be robbed of an education as they have to leave school to take up care work. As climate change drives conflict across the world, women and girls face increased vulnerabilities to all forms of gender-based violence. Women need to be at the heart of climate action.


Tightening the Net: Net zero climate targets – implications for land and food equity


Footing the Bill: Fair finance for loss and damage in an era of escalating climate impacts


Carbon Billionaires: The investment emissions of the world’s richest people


Towards a Just Energy Transition: Implications for communities in lower- and middle-income countries

This page was produced with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this page are the sole responsibility of Oxfam International and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.