The more things you have and the more you travel, the more fossil fuels are burned and more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.
Wandering around, buying luxury goods, keeping the mansions warm and driving super cars – they all have a carbon footprint.
However, some argue that the rich can do their best to correct the climate crisis. Here’s how they can make a difference.
Buying decisions of the rich mean more than most people in tackling climate change.
Otto stated that the numbers were explanatory because the sample in the study was small. “Probably our estimates are even lower than real millionaire emissions,” he said.
“The rich can change a lot in terms of their lifestyle choices,” said Otto. “For example, they put solar panels on the roofs of their homes. They can also afford electric cars, and it would be best if they avoid flying.”
In the study, air travel made up more than half the footprint of a super-rich couple.
Rich people also have the flexibility to make changes.
“High-income cities and high-income individuals also have the resources to try new products, services and solutions.” The minister said, adding that they have the capacity to create a market for more sustainable goods.
Rich people can choose which industries to invest or not to invest, as well as choosing what to spend.
However, there is a tendency for wealthy investors to sell their shares in industries that damage climate, known as deprivation.
“You don’t invest in coal, you don’t invest in oil, gas, regular cars, or some auto companies that produce aviation, so you’re driving financial flows,” said Otto. Said.
And with liquidation, it can go a long way. “We have made some simulations that show that you don’t have to liquidate everyone with the liquidation movement,” said Otto. Said. “If the minority of investors is out of hand, other investors will not invest in these fossil fuel assets because they will be afraid of losing money … even if they don’t have environmental concerns.”
Wealth means power
Rich people can have not only economic decision makers but also political influence. They can finance political parties and campaigns and have access to lawmakers.
Otto argued that rich people could use their political powers to make positive changes in climate forces.
“People with the highest emissions have the highest agency to change something,” said Otto. Said. “There is a lot of research on the poor, the effects of climate change on the poor … sustainable development goals and so on. But when it comes to action and sustainability and transformation, the poor cannot do anything because they are busy surviving.
“But educated, rich and super rich – it’s a completely different situation. They have the money and resources to act, and they also have social networks.”
Finance climate research
The rich can also support climate research. Microsoft founder Bill Gates made a commitment to finance $ 2 billion of his fortune in research and development on clean energy in 2015.
In the letter, “We ask that you urgently consider important investments to prevent further ecological disaster through your personal investments or philanthropy.”
There are many incentives for the rich to demand climate action: A recent UN report warned that delaying climate policies will cost the best companies in the world over $ 1.2 trillion over the next 15 years.
Super rich can also have an impact on other people’s carbon emissions.
“The high status in our societies remains associated with high material wealth.” Said. “It is a desire to be very rich and you imitate the lifestyles of the people you want to be.”
For example, air travel is no longer just a treat of the super rich. This year, the budget airline Ryanair became the only non-coal facility among the 10 largest emitters in Europe.
“We need to redefine the wealth in our societies so that it is possible to live” a good life “without high greenhouse gas emissions.” Said.