The 782 richest people in the world could fund a green energy shift – and still be billionaires


According to a new report, the personal fortunes of the richest 782 people in the world could power Latin America, Africa, and most of Asia with 100 percent renewable energy.

The research from Friends of the Earth (FoE) calculates the investment cost of providing several regions of the developing world with 100 per cent renewable electricity, and compares those amounts with the gross concentrated wealth of the world’s richest individuals, in order to highlight the need for economic and climate justice.

“This report is a wake up call for policy makers and governments,” says Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Friends of the Earth International in a press release. “Our world faces two destructive and entwined crises — growing inequality and climate change. The time has come to address them together.”

He adds: “It is important to note that the investment cost, representing the additional investment in renewables over and above what will occur anyway, does not represent the economic cost to society.

“Investments in power generation are paid back over time through sales of electricity. Friends of the Earth International believe that access to energy is a basic human right and a necessary condition of a dignified life.”

What wealth data was used?

The 782 wealthiest individuals on the planet (many CEOs of major corporations) hold personal fortunes of around $5.15 trillion. The FoE research calculated the price tag of providing a large portion of the global south with 100 per cent renewable energy (predominately wind, solar and energy storage) comparative with the wealth figures below.


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