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How many billionaires would it take to save the planet?

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Bangkok - Could a handful of the world’s richest people giving away their wealth make a real impact on climate change? Bloomberg's Robin Hood Index calculated what slice of each top billionaire’s fortune would be needed to buy all the carbon credits required to offset all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in their home country over a year.

As an intellectual exercise, one can only imagine what the most affluent in 44 countries, with an estimated wealth of $786bn, or a cool 1% of the world’s gross domestic product, can do with their money that government and agencies can’t.

The answer is quite a lot. Only in China and Brazil is the biggest fortune too small to “clear the air” for a year. Investor Jorge Paulo Lemann’s $29bn comes close to settling Brazil’s cleaning bill while Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma would need to double his $37bn to offset the damage caused by the world’s biggest polluter.

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