Amol Rajan visited Kenya, where Bill Gates through his foundation is supporting local farms and hospitals.
During a wide ranging interview in Kenya, Gates talked about wealth and recent conspiracies and controversies — an interview published by the BBC, 3 Feb 2023.
On the use of business jets Gates was asked for his view on the charge that a climate change campaigner using a private jet to travel around the world was a “hypocrite”.
Gates replied — “Well, I buy the gold standard of, funding with Climeworks, to do direct air capture that far exceeds my family’s carbon footprint,” said the Microsoft co-founder.
“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?”
The billionaire added that he was “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.”
Within aviation, the use of private jets ‘by the wealthy’ is a contentious issue that creates a significant amount of debate and discussion.
It appears as though part of the problem is understanding the role private / business jets play in productivity.
To fairly consider ones use of a private / business jet from afar is to make assumption, sometimes through jealously or envy — without the whole set of facts, and therefore consideration of the total picture as opposed to objective assumption of the standalone use of a private / business jet.
The World Wildlife Fund describe the environmental footprint of aviation as ‘significant’, and “one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change.”
The WWF also says air travel is “currently the most carbon intensive activity an individual can make.”
However, as in Formula 1 where the leading edge of technology is developed to gain 10ths of a second advantage — the technological advancements created through the human endeavor to gain competitive advantage has to become a similar thesis in aviation.
The ‘collective’ grouping of ‘aviation’ into one bucket doesn’t help matters.
Aviation is about mobility — however in human mobility we have enjoyed enhanced freedom, the future however needs the change, for that their is no question, and if wealthy entrepreneurs such as Gates benefit from the value that private / business jet travel provides — then we can be hopeful that entrepreneurs like Gates will invest and PR the greener evolution in private / business air travel so that in-time the whole aviation industry can become sustainable and as close to 100% environmentally free.
Associations such as IAPBA – The International Association of Private and Business Aviation, are making their primary mission to enhance the technology to enable carbon free flight, and supply chains.
You can read more about IAPBA’s work here: IAPBA – Environment
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