A new study has revealed that the wealthy in society can play a crucial role in addressing the challenge of climate change globally.
The study published by the Nature Energy journal on September 30 notes that the rich, who are also responsible for a significant share of the carbon emissions, can use their influence to spur action in addressing climate change.
This group can use investments, board seats, political connections, and networks with fellow wealthy colleagues to spark change. This status, therefore, gives them more say in the policies and initiatives that get pursued.
Those earning over $100k have influence on climate change
The research focused on Europe and the United States, where the rich were classified as people belonging to the upper-middle class. The group makes up 1% of the global population and earns at least $101,000 per year. The group was also classified according to social class, occupation type, and neighborhood.
According to the researchers, the rich can also apply their influence, considering they have more resources to rebuild after a disaster. Notably, the wealthy are also impacted by climate change, with the research pointing out the California fires and rising sea levels that might wipe out their residence.
“There’s an inequality in who causes the problem and who will experience the consequences of the problem, but also inequality in who can help fix the problem,” said Kristian Nielsen, a co-author of the publication.
The study also explains how the rich can promote a ‘good life’ by focusing on an environmentally friendly lifestyle like veganism or buying electric vehicles.
The rich involved in climate change initiatives
The report comes even as some of the wealthiest individuals globally launch initiatives to curb climate change. For instance, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos has pledged to give $10 billion to activists, scientists, and nonprofits in the sector.
Similarly, Bill Gates has set aside $2 billion for technological innovation on climate change. At the same time, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk revealed that he is supporting a carbon removal technology contest by donating $100 million for the prize.
Furthermore, Musk has also taken several initiatives to curb factors contributing to environmental degradation through his company. After accepting Bitcoin payments early this year, Tesla suspended the move citing the impact of the asset on the environment through carbon emissions.