According to the NGO Oxfam, a billionaire would emit millions of times more greenhouse gases than an average person
Eva Deschamps / November 7, 2022
Billionaires invest mainly in polluting industries like fossil fuels and cement. As a result, they emit on average 1 million times more greenhouse gases than any other person, according to a study by Oxfam.
For the Carbon Billionaires report, Oxfam analyzed the investments of 125 of the world's wealthiest billionaires in some of the world's largest companies. It also examined the carbon emissions of these companies.
The study found that these billionaires' investments were responsible for a combined annual emission of 393 million tons of CO2 equivalent, equivalent to the emissions of all of France.
The emissions generated by the lifestyles of billionaires - just think of their private jets and yachts - are thousands of times higher than those of the average person, which is already totally unacceptable. But if we look at the emissions from their investments, their carbon emissions are more than a million times higher," says Eva Smets, director of Oxfam Belgium. "These billionaire investors at the top of the corporate pyramid have a huge responsibility for climate degradation."
According to Oxfam, the study also shows that billionaires place an average of 14 percent of their investments in polluting industries. Many of these companies are also not on track with their climate transition plans, or are hiding behind unrealistic and unreliable plans, the NGO says.
Oxfam therefore calls on governments to adopt policies that require companies to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies should also be required to set science-based climate targets.
The organization also calls for the introduction of a wealth tax on the wealthiest individuals and an additional tax on wealth invested in polluting industries. This measure could raise $1.4 trillion a year, according to Oxfam. This money could then be used by the countries hardest hit by the climate crisis.