How the wealthy are impacting climate change, by the numbers

The lifestyles of the rich and famous appear to be affecting the planet

A helicopter landing on a luxury superyacht
Superyachts can give off thousands of tons of carbon emissions per year
(Image credit: Carlo Borlenghi / Reda & Co / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

There are around 2,600 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes, and these moguls are worth a combined $12.2 trillion. This wealth has allowed them to travel the world in private luxury vehicles. As the planet continues to feel the effects of global warming, though, studies have shown that these lifestyles are contributing to climate change. 

The wealthiest individuals "make a huge contribution to climate change through carbon-hungry activities," BBC reported. It is true that "most people in wealthy countries are consuming in ways that are accelerating climate catastrophe," the outlet added. However, "Wealthy people set the tone on consumption to which everybody aspires. That's where the toxic effects are," Halina Szejnwald Brown, professor emerita of environmental science at Clark University, told BBC.

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