Billionaire Bill Gates defended his habit of using private jets for personal travel despite being one of the world’s most vocal climate activists — testily denying that he is “part of the problem” when it comes to climate change.
The Microsoft co-founder grew visibly irritated when confronted on the topic during a lengthy interview last week with BBC journalist Amol Rajan.
“What do you say to the charge that if you are a climate change campaigner, but you also travel around the world in a private jet, you’re a hypocrite?” Rajan asked.
“By 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. So, you know, should I stay at home and not come to Kenya and learn about farming and malaria?” an annoyed Gates responded.
“Anyway, 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’m part of the solution,” Gates added.
Gates owns at least four private planes, according to a report from the website Private Jet Charter. He is the world’s sixth-richest individual, with an estimated fortune of $106.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Climeworks is a Swiss-based company that developed “a way to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air,” according to the company’s website. Last July, Climeworks announced a 10-year agreement with Microsoft to supply the company with “technology-based carbon removal.”
Last year, Gates told Bloomberg that he paid Climeworks, which offers individual packages, to conduct “direct air capture” on his behalf.
“I bought out their capacity and I got volume discount,” Gates said. “I think that may be at $600 [per ton of carbon emissions].”
The billionaire founded Breakthrough Energy in 2015 as an umbrella company for his investments in sustainable energy and carbon-cutting technologies.
In December, Reuters reported that Gates has invested more than $2 billion toward climate-related technological development.
The use of private jets among the wealthy recently drew scrutiny ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
As The Post reported, the activist group Greenpeace accused the conference’s billionaire attendees of “ecological hypocrisy” for discussing their efforts to combat climate change while traveling the world in carbon-spewing private planes.