Opinion: Musk and Bezos Are Not Going To Save Us From Climate Change

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Some billionaires like Musk and Bezos have taken certain actions to contribute to the fight against climate change, but how much do they really help in a crisis of this magnitude? .

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk

Millionaires are not going to save the environment because their fortune depends on the capitalist system. Photos: Wikimedia

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Opinión: Musk y Bezos no van a salvarnos del cambio climático

Climate change is on everyone's lips. It went from being an issue that was only present in scientific and environmental circles to become a topic of conversation in our daily lives. Every day concerns grow a little more about how close we are to reaching 2 ° C and not staying below that temperature, as we were supposed to do before 2030 according to the Paris Agreement. We see news of natural disasters related to the precariousness of the climate, how entire communities are being destroyed by extractive activities, how countries have high rates of malnutrition due to the lack of food related to this crisis. We see billionaires like Musk and Bezos worry too and take action. But how much are these people really doing to mitigate climate change?

Billionaires with the pretense of saviors

In a world ruled by the capitalist economic system, it is not surprising that money can do everything. It seems that billionaires like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, tweet about the contamination of certain cryptocurrencies, turn a large amount of money to governments that claim to care about the conservation of the environment or create a foundation with the word "earth" on it and they are already saving the environment.

Just look at the case of the Earth 300 project, devised by businessman Aaron Olivera, a nuclear-powered superyacht with which Olivera aims to solve the climate crisis. How? Gathering climate scientists and students (who will travel for free) on said yacht that will also board several millionaires who will pay $ 3 million per head for a 10-day trip. 80% of the money raised will go to environmental causes, the rest will go to the profitability of the project.

Also read: Opinion: The Most Polluting Industries Should Not have a Voice on Climate Change

It seems that for Olivera, saving the environment means bringing together a lot of millionaires on a super yacht that shows all the opulence that this sphere is surrounded by and that bringing together environmental scientists means mitigating climate change. Can't you get a bunch of scientists together anywhere else? If millionaires are so eager to spend their money on projects with supposed environmental approaches, why not donate their money and now? And why, if you are working hand in hand with climate scientists, opt for nuclear energy which, despite emitting fewer greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, is still polluting because it consumes large amounts of fossil fuels and has been sold itself as the renewable energy that will prevent us from climate change?

Olivera excuses himself in an optimistic techno speech in which he assures that his project is inspiring and that "the future of humanity lies in ambitious projects like this one." Let us remember that ambition, in the first place, is the cause that our world is built on economic interests that overlook the common good, both of human beings and of the planet we inhabit and that of the species that inhabit it with us.

And going back to the billionaires of the moment, Musk recently offered to donate US $ 6,000 million, just a small part of his fortune, on the condition that the UN demonstrates how that amount of money can solve the hunger associated with climate change in 42 million people around the world. This happened after the executive director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley, challenged Musk, Bezos and other millionaires to donate US $ 6,000 million to solve the famine of the 42 million people that we already mentioned. . Musk,  asked Beasley to be open with his accounting and comment on how this amount of money would solve the problem, and that if he managed to do it, he would sell Tesla shares and deliver the amount immediately. On the Twiiter thread Musk and Beasley agreed to a meeting. This happened on October 31 and so far neither of the two parties has ruled on the matter.

It remains to be seen where this show will go on Twitter, if that money will be donated and if it really makes sense to do so. We know that Musk's schtik in most cases is pure charlatanism and that his philanthropic actions are reduced when we objectively see that his wealth, like many other millionaires or billionaires, largely comes from a capitalist system based on disproportionate consumption, which in turn results in the climate and environmental crisis.

In the case of Bezos, at the recent COP26, he met with the leaders of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and Bolivia and together they committed to creating the largest oceanic protected area in the world. Commitments, commitments, and more commitments. Agreements like those of 2016 that have not been reached because world leaders and the rich are playing to save the world from climate change in expensive and pompous conferences , arriving in private jets and later saying yes, that we must reduce gas emissions greenhouse effect.

Millionaires are not going to save the environment because their fortune depends on the capitalist system responsible for climate change. Much less when their alms go to governments just as capitalist and destructive. Much less when regulators like the UN allow industry lobbying to give in to their promises. Proposals, philanthropy, and "goodwill" are reduced to charlatanism.