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‘I’m Part of the Solution’: Bill Gates Says He’ll Keep Flying on Private Jets Despite Climate Change

In a new BBC interview, the billionaire philanthropist fired back at those questioning his carbon footprint.

bill gates private jet Taylor Hill/WireImage

Can you still claim to be an environmentalist if you fly around in a private jet? Bill Gates seems to think so. 

It’s no secret that celebrities from Jay-Z to Kim Kardashian have been catching major heat lately for taking gas-guzzling trips around the world in their PJs. Even outspoken climate campaigners including Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio have received pushback from activists for their private aviation travels and superyacht ventures. However, the billionaire philanthropist has recently spoken out and addressed whether he believes his elite modes of transportation are contradictory.  

“Well, I buy the gold standard of funding Climeworks, to 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?” Gates told journalist Amol Rajan during a new BBC interview. If you recall, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $7 billion back in November to improve health, agriculture and gender equality in Africa. 

bill gates private jet
Bill Gates recently defended his private jet travels noting his many investments in carbon-capturing technologies Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Images via Getty Images

Additionally, Gates’s 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 the greenhouse gases underground where they no longer pose a threat to global warming. For context, one private jet can emit two tons of CO2 in just an hour.  

Gates later 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 for the offsets, but also through the billions that my Breakthrough Energy Group is spending, that I’m part of the solution.”  

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