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This Study Reveals Which Billionaires Has The Highest Carbon Footprint In The World And Why

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Whether you are a billionaire or someone with a modest background, we all have some form of carbon footprint. We get to work in cars, go on vacations in planes and use electricity in our homes. However, when it comes to billionaires, energy usage can increase to astronomical levels as they often travel for work, own yachts or have multiple houses that use a lot of energy. However, not all billionaires are the same as some have a very low carbon footprint as compared to others, according to a recent study and report. 

Which Billionaire Has The Highest Carbon Footprint In The World? © unsplash

Bill Gates stressed in his recent book, the importance of climate change and how we should reduce our carbon footprint. Gates wants people to stop eating meat and switch to synthetic meat instead. He also feels going to Mars in a rocket may not be the best way to go about space travel. In fact, even though billionaires have tried to be environmentally conscious, some of them have a larger carbon footprint than the average person. 

Which Billionaire Has The Highest Carbon Footprint In The World? © unsplash

Two anthropologists from Indiana University wanted to find out whether wealth translated to a higher footprint due to consumption. The calculation by Richard Wilk and Beatriz Barros was published in The Conversation and found that billionaires do in fact have a higher carbon footprint, sometimes thousands of times higher than the average person. Since many of the billionaires own yachts, planes and multiple mansions, it all contributes to the overall carbon footprint. For perspective, a helicopter pad, submarines, pools and a yacht with a permanent crew emit about 7,020 tons of CO2 a year. 

In order to determine an accurate footprint, the two anthropologists focused on real estate transportation to calculate the carbon emission from each billionaire. However, to everyone’s surprise, neither Musk nor Bezos or Gates had the highest carbon footprint as the top spot is currently being held by a Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich.

According to Forbes, the Russian billionaire owns the world second largest yacht which he bought for nearly $400 million in 2010. The billionaire is also best known for owning Chelsea F.C., a Premier League football club. The second-highest carbon emitter was David Geffen, an American businessman who is a producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist. 

Which Billionaire Has The Highest Carbon Footprint In The World? © unsplash

Bill Gates on the other hand had a very "modest" carbon footprint since he does not own any yachts. Most of his carbon footprint is related to flying as he owns four private jets, a seaplane and “a collection” of helicopters. His annual footprint was measured at 7,493 metric tons of carbon. 

Elon musk also has a surprisingly low carbon footprint even though he owns a yacht but doesn’t take any vacations. Musk also sold all of his 8 houses and reduced his carbon footprint since 2018 as well. 

"While his personal carbon footprint is still hundreds of times higher than that of an average person, he demonstrates that the super-rich still has choices to make and can indeed lower their environmental impact if they so choose,” the anthropologists said. 

It is worth pointing out that the study excluded most billionaires from the Middle East and Asia. Most of the data relies on public records and does not include the emissions of companies they own. For example, emissions from Amazon or Tesla were not included as it would have “added another significant degree of complexity.”

Source: The Conversation


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