Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that it was perfectly ok for him to travel by private jet while campaigning for climate change at the same time.
“What do you say to the charge that if you are a climate change campaigner, but you also travel around the world on a private jet, you’re a hypocrite,” said BBC’s Amor Rajan to Bill Gates recently.
Private jet for the powerful
Gates reply was, “Well I, buy the gold standard of funding Climeworks, to do direct air capture that far exceeds my family’s carbon footprint and I spend billions of dollars on climate innovation.”
Gates has been forthcoming about owning a private jet saying on Reddit that “owning a plane is a guilty pleasure”. According to aircraft chart broker Private Jet Charter, Gates has four private jets, a seaplane and a helicopter.
Climeworks is a Swiss company that uses direct air capture (DAC) technology to fight climate change. According to this website it captures CO2 directly from the air, reducing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by only using renewable energy, energy-from-waste, or other waste heat as energy sources.”
Last year it became Microsoft’s first long term carbon removal supplier.
“I’m comfortable with the idea that not only am I not part of the problem by paying for the offsets, but also through the billions that my Breakthrough Energy group is spending, that I am part of the solution,” he said.
Gates founded Breakthrough Energy in 2015 with the intention to “work on the actual climate technologies our world will need to meaningfully reduce emissions” and bring the public and private sector together “to accelerate market formation, spur further innovation, and reduce Green Premiums.”
Reuters reports that Gates has invested more than $2 billion toward climate technologies. This includes investments in direct air capture in addition to solar energy and nuclear fission.
The World Wildlife Fund however reported that air travel (certainly by private jet) is still “the most carbon intensive activity and individual can make.
“Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change. In fact, if the entire aviation sector were a country, it would be one of the top 10 carbon-polluting nations on the planet.”
The report also states that private jets are five to 14 times more polluting per passenger than commercial planes, according to a report from the European Federation for Transport and Environment. One private jet can emit two tonnes of CO2, within an hour.