While billionaires accumulate more money than the average person, they also pollute much more than others. This is what a study published on the site denounces The Conversation in which two researchers from Indiana University, United States, is interested in the carbon footprint of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk or other great world fortunes.
To do this, the two anthropologists relied on the famous ranking of the richest people carried out by Forbes. Some of the few thousand billionaires listed in this magazine, however, do not detail their purchases and consumption. By scanning 82 public databases containing statements of wealth, scientists managed to analyze the carbon footprints of 20 famous billionaires.
First conclusion of the researchers: the biggest polluters are not necessarily the richest. For example, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, or Elon Musk, his current runner-up who briefly passed him in February 2021, are among those who pollute the least in this list, emitting around 5,000 tonnes. of CO2 per year each.
Emissions more than a thousand times higher
These figures are obviously very impressive. Globally, a person emits on average around 5 tonnes of CO2 per year. In France, this rises to 11.9 tonnes according to government data.
But, the emissions of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are, for example, very clearly lower than those of Roman Abrahamovic. The Russian billionaire, enriched in the field of gas and oil and owner in particular of the football club Chelsea, would emit more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, mainly due to a pronounced taste for yachts. This makes him the most polluting personality cited in this study.
First French fortune, Bernard Arnault also appears in the upper part of this ranking. The LVMH boss’s yachts and various plane trips generate more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.