This article frames ultra-rich people owning and using superyachts and private jets as ‘theft’ because it reduces the amount of time we’ve got to avert climate disaster.
Yes, it is.
But it’s also theft because the purchase of these yachts and jets are only possible because of the enormous sums of money stolen from workers to fund their extravagant lifestyles.
Owning or operating a superyacht is probably the most harmful thing an individual can do to the climate. If we’re serious about avoiding climate chaos, we need to tax, or at the very least shame, these resource-hoarding behemoths out of existence. In fact, taking on the carbon aristocracy, and their most emissions-intensive modes of travel and leisure, may be the best chance we have to improve our collective climate morale and increase our appetite for personal sacrifice, from individual behavior changes to sweeping policy mandates.
Source: The Superyachts of Billionaires Are Starting to Look a Lot Like Theft | The New York Times
On an individual basis, the superrich pollute far more than the rest of us, and travel is one of the biggest parts of that footprint. Take, for instance, Rising Sun, the 454-foot, 82-room megaship owned by the DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen. According to a 2021 analysis in the journal Sustainability, the diesel fuel powering Mr. Geffen’s boating habit spews an estimated 16,320 tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent gases into the atmosphere annually, almost 800 times what the average American generates in a year.
And that’s just a single ship. Worldwide, more than 5,500 private vessels clock in about 100 feet or longer, the size at which a yacht becomes a superyacht. This fleet pollutes as much as entire nations: The 300 biggest boats alone emit 315,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, based on their likely usage — about as much as Burundi’s more than 10 million inhabitants. Indeed, a 200-foot vessel burns 132 gallons of diesel fuel an hour standing still and can guzzle 2,200 gallons just to travel 100 nautical miles.