A billionaire Emits A Million Times More Greenhouse Gases Than The Average Person


A recent report by Oxfam reveals that the world’s wealthiest individuals are responsible for an astonishingly high level of greenhouse gas emissions.

These emissions come not only from their luxurious lifestyles but more significantly from their investments in heavily polluting industries.

Key Findings:

  • Investment Emissions: The investments of 125 billionaires produce 393 million tonnes of CO2e annually, equivalent to the entire country of France. This means that each billionaire’s investments emit, on average, 3 million tonnes of CO2e per year. For comparison, the average person in the bottom 90% of humanity emits just 2.76 tonnes of CO2e annually.
  • High Stakes in Polluting Industries: These billionaires hold $2.4 trillion in 183 companies, with about 14% of their investments in high-pollution sectors like fossil fuels and cement. This is double the average investment in these industries by companies in the Standard and Poor 500.
  • Billionaire Emissions vs. Average Person: The average billionaire emits a million times more CO2e than someone in the bottom 90% of humanity.

Why Does This Matter?

The report highlights that billionaires have a massive impact on global carbon emissions due to their investment choices.

Unlike average people, where lifestyle emissions (like private jets and yachts) are significant, for billionaires, up to 70% of their emissions come from their investments.

Only one billionaire in the sample had investments in a renewable energy company.

Call to Action:

  • Transparency and Accountability: Governments must require corporations to report all their emissions and set science-based targets to reduce them.
  • Tax and Regulation: Introducing a wealth tax on the super-rich and higher taxes on investments in polluting industries could raise $1.4 trillion annually. This money could help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to renewable energy.
  • Corporate Responsibility: Corporations must develop and follow ambitious climate action plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Big Picture:

To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, drastic changes in investment strategies and corporate policies are essential.

Billionaires and their investments play a crucial role in shaping the future of our planet’s climate.

Nafkote Dabi, Climate Change Lead at Oxfam, emphasizes that the responsibility of wealthy individuals in driving climate breakdown has been ignored for too long.

Dabi calls for immediate action to hold these individuals and their investments accountable to protect our planet for future generations.


Addressing the climate crisis requires significant reductions in carbon emissions from the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Through stringent regulations, transparent reporting, and targeted taxes, we can steer investments away from polluting industries and towards a sustainable future.