During a lengthy interview with BBC journalist Amol Rajan last week, the Microsoft co-founder became visibly irritated when confronted on the subject, according to a report by Front Page Magazine.
“What do you say to the charge that if you are a climate change campaigner, but you also travel around the world in a private jet, you’re a hypocrite?” Rajan asked.
“By the gold standard of funding Climeworks to do 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?” an annoyed Gates responded, according to Euronews.
“Anyway, 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,” Gates added.
"So, you know, should I stay at home and not come to Kenya and learn about farming and malaria?”
When asked why he doesn't just use Microsoft Teams instead of flying to far-flung locations where his foundation operates, he says, “I don't think you can understand this remotely.” Gates goes on to say that he hopes to eradicate malaria within his lifetime.
Air travel emissions are a significant contributor to climate change, accounting for approximately 4% of human-induced global warming. According to the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), private jets are 10 times more 'carbon intensive' than commercial planes per passenger and 50 times more polluting than trains.
According to the website Private Jet Charter, Gates owns at least four private planes.
Investigative journalist and writer Daniel Greenfield asserted in his article that, when someone asks a member of the private jet set about saving the planet, they start babbling about buying climate offsets, which is like asking a vegan about all the burgers and having him explain that he pays someone else to eat soy.
The author claims that if the planet is on the verge of a boom because we haven't yet descended into the Dark Ages, there's really no reason to declare that you can do whatever you want as long as you buy climate chips.
"Amazon’s Jeff Bezos built a mega-yacht and then funds climate stuff. Bill Gates has four jets and insists he’s not part of the problem. And how else is he supposed to get to Kenya anyway? Fly commercial?" Greenfield said.
"The 66,000 square foot mansion? I’m sure he’s got offsets for that too. Like paying poor people to live in shacks.
"And that’s the future that our green overlords would like for us. They’ll fly their private jets and have their megayachts and mansions, they’ll just raise the prices of not only these things, but even basic goods and services to put them out of our reach with carbon taxes, then they’ll talk about how they’re saving the planet with climate investments that are government mandated, and are making money for them while taking it from us."