Many material benefits of our world are based on the use of energy from fossil energy sources. Most types of transport also utilize internal combustion engines, polluting the Earth's atmosphere with destructive CO2. While the vast majority of people on our planet emit relatively modest amounts of CO2 using transport, and in lighting and heating our homes, emissions from wealthy people are very high.
The Conversation's research found that billionaires' carbon footprint could be thousands of times higher than the average American, which is only about five tons per person. The wealthy own yachts, airplanes, and mansions that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Transport and real estate account for the largest share of most people's carbon footprint, so the study focused only on calculating those categories for every billionaire. The conversation selected 20 billionaires from the 2020 Forbes List of 2,095 billionaires, whose assets were found and counted.
According to the study, some of the largest pollutants have relatively little wealth, while the two richest persons in the world--Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos--have relatively small carbon footprints.
It turned out that yachts make up the majority of the emissions of those who have them. In second place is transportation, such as planes, helicopters, and cars. Dwellings make up a relatively small fraction of their carbon footprint.
Notably, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has a surprisingly low carbon footprint despite being the second richest person in the world. The engineer-inventor does not own yachts and many mansions but uses only a jet and an electric car as his transport. It should be noted that, for all billionaires, the calculation was based on 2018 data, but since then, Musk's carbon footprint has decreased even more, as he sold all of his dwellings.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.