So much for smooth sailing.
Jeff Bezos — who has pledged to spend billions of dollars to help fight climate change — nonetheless owns a $500 million superyacht that generates thousands of tons of carbon emissions each year, according to a new analysis by Indiana University researchers.
The Amazon founder’s 417-foot sailing yacht “Koru,” produces an astounding minimum of 7,154 tons of greenhouse gasses annually — roughly 447 times the entire annual carbon footprint of your average American, the Indiana researchers found.
The findings, based on publicly-available data, come as the world’s third-richest man has committed to spending $10 billion over 10 years through the Bezos Earth Fund to combat the effects of climate change.
So far, the fund has doled out $1.84 billion, including for nature conservation and restoration, and transforming food systems.
Koru and its support vessel, the Abeona, are the first yachts Bezos has purchased, according to Nautical Channel.
Billionaires such as Bezos, whose net worth is roughly $161 billion, “are invested in these issues like climate change and carbon emissions, and publicly, they are very vocal about that,” said Indiana anthropology PhD candidate Beatriz Barros, who analyzed the ship’s emissions with anthropologist Richard Wilk.
“But because they are so rich and so powerful, they feel like they are entitled [to travel in carbon-producing superyachts], whereas you and I should drive less, should eat less meat,” she said.
Boating industry experts have fawned over Koru’s “green” ability to travel via wind power, but Barros sniffed that Bezos’ three-masted goliath generates a slew of greenhouse gasses just by heating and cooling the vessel and powering the ship’s various over-the-top luxury amenities such as its sauna, pool and theater.
“I don’t see how, how in any way this can be considered to be environmentally friendly,” Barros said, whose findings with Wilk were first reported by The Guardian.
The superyacht, which was built by Netherlands-based Oceanco and made its maiden voyage in April, came with the 246-foot Abeona, which is decked out with jet skis and a helicopter pad to accommodate the personal chopper of Bezos’ fiancee, Lauren Sanchez.
Barros and Wilk’s analysis didn’t include the sister boat’s emissions.
Bezos’ wealth insulates him from the impact of environmental crises, said Dario Kenner, author of “Carbon Inequality: The Role of the Richest in Climate Change.”
“There is an emotional and physical disconnect from the rich and climate change,” said Kenner.
“The poorest people live closest to toxic air facilities, refineries, places where pollution is dumped,” he said, explaining land is cheaper in those areas.
“If you’re rich, you’re rarely in contact with environmental disaster zones — you’re more insulated from extreme weather, from air pollution.”
Koru’s emissions aren’t the only rough seas Bezos has faced in recent years over his environmental bonafides.
In 2021, online critics torpedoed Bezos for reportedly traveling via helicopter to party on Bill Gates’ superyacht — just days before attending the COP26 climate summit in Scotland via private jet.
A spokesperson for Bezos told Observer.com at the time the billionaire used sustainable aviation fuel for his travels and pays for carbon offsets, which fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and cancel out carbon emissions generated by the trips.
The year before, hundreds of Amazon employees ripped the company for its ongoing contracts with oil and gas companies, months after then-CEO Bezos promised to bring the online retail giant’s operations to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040.
Bezos and Bezos Earth Fund did not respond to requests for comment.