Can you still claim to be an environmentalist if you travel to a private plane? Bill Gates seems to think so.
It’s no secret that celebrities from Jay-Z to Kim Kardashian have taken a lot of heat lately for taking energy-guzzling trips around the world in their pajamas. Even outspoken climate activists, including Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio, have been pushed back by campaigners for their private aviation travel and superyacht companies. However, the billionaire philanthropist recently spoke out and asked if he thinks his elite modes of transportation are contradictory.
“Well, I’m buying the gold standard of Climeworks funding, to lead air capture that far exceeds my family’s carbon footprint. And I’m spending billions of dollars on…climate innovation. So, you know, should I stay home and not come to Kenya and learn about agriculture and malaria?” Gates told reporter Amol Rajan during a new BBC interview. If you recall, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $7 billion in November to improve health, agriculture, and gender equality in Africa.
Additionally, Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Group, which he founded in 2015, invested in Climeworks last year. The Swiss-based company is currently working to reduce CO2 emissions by capturing and removing them from the air using renewable energy sources. They then store greenhouse gases underground where they no longer pose a threat to global warming. For context, a private jet can emit two tonnes of CO2 in just one hour.
Gates then doubled down on his private jet usage in the interview, saying, “I’m comfortable with the idea that not only am I not part of the problem by paying the offsets, but also through the billions that my Breakthrough Energy group spends. , that I am part of the solution.
Well, at least that’s how he sees it.