Much evidence suggests that the wealthiest individuals contribute disproportionally to climate change. Here we study the implications of a continued growth in the number of millionaires for emissions, and its impact on the depletion of the remaining carbon budget to limit global warming to 1.5 °C (about 400 Gt CO2).
Studies investigating celebrities, including US$ billionaires, have found that individuals can cause emissions of up to 1600 t CO2 per year through the use of private aircraft alone (Gössling, 2019). The largest source of individual emissions is however yachts: Barros and Wilk (2021) estimate that close to two thirds of the overall carbon footprint of those billionaires owning yachts is caused by yacht-ownership. This implies a contribution to climate change that is up to 6500 times greater for these individuals than the global average of 4.5 t CO2 per capita and year, or up to 300,000 times greater than the contribution of the poorest, at 0.1 t CO2 per person and year
the question is whether it is even thinkable to implement policies that will address the high emitters, for instance in the [USA](https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/united-states-of-america).