A billionaire emits a million times more greenhouse gases than the average person, a study has found.
The report published by the British-founded charity Oxfam Monday based its findings on detailed analysis of the investments of 125 of the world’s richest billionaires.
It found that, contrary to average people, the wealthiest individuals’ investments account for up to 70% of their emissions.
According to the report, these billionaires’ investments produce an annual average of 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per person, which is a million times higher than the average 2.76 tons of CO2 for those living in the bottom 90%.
Nafkote Dabi, climate change lead at Oxfam, said that emissions from billionaires’ lifestyles, their private jets and yachts are already thousands of times higher than those of the average person. But looking at emissions from their investments, their carbon emissions are more than a million times higher.
“These few billionaires together have ‘investment emissions’ that equal the carbon footprints of entire countries like France, Egypt or Argentina.
“The major and growing responsibility of wealthy people for overall emissions is rarely discussed or considered in climate policy making. This has to change.
“These billionaire investors at the top of the corporate pyramid have huge responsibility for driving climate breakdown. They have escaped accountability for too long,” she said.
The study also found billionaires had an average of 14% of their investments in polluting industries such as energy and materials like cement. Just one billionaire in the sample had investments in a renewable energy company.
“We need COP27 to expose and change the role that big corporates and their rich investors are playing in profiting from the pollution that is driving the global climate crisis,” Dabi said.