The fact that twelve of the world’s richest billionaires together emit almost 17 million tons of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases raises some eyebrows. It is not surprising that ultra-rich people such as Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Roman Abramovich live in high ecological terms. However, their immense wealth comes at a cost to the planet and society.
The British newspaper The Guardian based these conclusions on research shared exclusively with them. The research was conducted by scientists Beatriz Barros and Richard Wilk, as well as analysts from the NGO Oxfam. They examined how many homes and luxury yachts the billionaires own, how they travel, and what financial investments they make.
The CO₂ emissions from their luxury yachts, private jets, and mansions pale in comparison to the pollution they cause with their financial investments. According to Alex Maitland, inequality policy adviser at Oxfam, this is especially true when considering the impact on global inequality and low-income communities. Oxfam believes that with their enormous emissions, the ‘one percenters’ are hitting the planet and especially those who are already marginalized particularly hard.
The report is based on research that assesses consumption emissions of different income groups in 2019 and advocates heavy taxes on the wealth of the super-rich in order to support those most affected by climate change