Bill Gates's book draws attention to billionaires' colossal carbon footprint
Business magnates such as Bill Gates and Roman Abramovich aren't famous for their wealth and business acumen alone. They also happen to be among the world's largest contributors to climate change and ecological imbalance. Recent reports about Gates's massive carbon footprint and wasteful lifestyle are sobering considering how he is constantly pontificating about climate change while asking common folk to lead frugal lives.
It's worth noting that these carbon-footprint estimates are rather conservative. The report cited doesn't factor in the carbon footprint of the billionaire's enterprises. This report has been developed using publicly available data, as most billionaires prefer to maintain privacy. Things could be a lot worse.
Gates's book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster launched on Tuesday, following which everyone's attention was drawn to his wasteful ways. He's the world's fourth-richest person and is worth an estimated $135 billion. His sprawling mansion has a collection of Greta Thunberg-upsetting Porsches, four private jets, and a fleet of helicopters. These alone can wreak enough environmental damage as thousands of Americans put together.
Gates wasteful practices include flying down to the Paris climate summit in a private jet and importing tonnes of sand from the Caribbean on a yearly basis to replenish the artificial beach on his property. This not only disturbs the Caribbean ecology, but it also burns a tremendous amount of fuel to transport something alien that's also damaging the lake within his property.
In a video on the subject loaded to the gills with satire, YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson mentions Gates is also the largest owner of farmland in America. He uses the 242,000 acres to grow corn and soybean as feed for commercial animal husbandry, a highly carbon-intensive agricultural model. Watson also underscores the hypocrisy of Gates advising commoners to change their lifestyle for environmental reasons.
Russian billionaire Abramovich has amassed $19 billion, trading oil and gas. Besides owning London's Chelsea FC, he has a superyacht called Eclipse, a custom Boeing 767, and a submarine. He has abodes around the world and contributed nearly 33,859 metric tons of CO2 to global emissions in 2018. More than two-thirds of the emissions came from his yacht, which is on standby all year round.
However, the icing on the cake is Gates's 2019 income tax filing showing heavy indirect investment in petroleum companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron. While we do agree that every bit counts in our efforts to turn back the proverbial Doomsday Clock, billionaires who have the means to rectify their ways should lead by example and actually practice what they preach for a change.