Bill Gates says using his private jets doesn’t undermine climate change views
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Bill Gates has insisted using private planes doesn't undermine his stance on climate change.
However, the 67-year-old has insisted his lifestyle is not hypocritical.
Asked about the apparent double standards in an interview with the BBC last Friday (3 February), Gates responded: "Well, I buy 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 not learn about farming and malaria?
"Anyway, I'm comfortable with the idea that not only am I not part of the problem by paying for the offsets, but I'm also - through the billions that my Breakthrough Energy group is spending - part of the solution."
Climeworks uses a technology called 'direct air capture' to remove CO2 emissions from the air before putting them in the ground, where they can't contribute to global warming.
Asked whether capitalism inherently depends on inequality and the destruction of the planet, Gates replied: "As you incent people to invent things you will give them an opportunity to make money from those things.
"So societies that have tried to get rid of that, like North Korea or during the cultural revolution in China, it's an experiment that's been run, and if people prefer to be in that situation, great."
He continued: "Yes, we could tax the rich more. Yes, more ought to go into climate mitigation and climate adaptation. But the idea that, 'Oh things were better 200 years ago,' you know where 30 percent of kids died before the age of five, I don't buy that.
"Just saying, 'Oh we're going to give up capitalism,' what are they saying? And do they really want to go backwards?
"I think we can use a form of capitalism and continue to get its benefits while solving climate change."
He was asked why he was buying up 'so much farmland' and whether he thought this was a problem associated with billionaires and how much they are allowed to acquire through their wealth.
In response, Gates said that he felt taxes on the rich need to rise sharply, adding that his job nowadays is giving away his money.
"I own less than 1/4000 of the farmland in the US," he responded.
"I have invested in these farms to make them more productive and create more jobs. There isn't some grand scheme involved - in fact all these decisions are made by a professional investment team.
"In terms of the very rich I think they should pay a lot more in taxes and they should give away their wealth over time. It has been very fulfilling for me and is my full time job."