According to a report by The Guardian, twelve of the world’s richest billionaires together emit almost 17 million tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.8 million gasoline cars or the energy consumption of 2.1 million homes. 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 enormous emissions raise some eyebrows.
Research conducted by scientists Beatriz Barros and Richard Wilk, as well as analysts from the NGO Oxfam, reveals that 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, with their enormous emissions, the ‘one percenters’ are hitting the planet and especially the lowest layers of society 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, reduce inequality, and finance a transition to renewable energy. Oxfam often makes headlines with reports about global inequality and the almost limitless wealth of the top layer of society.