According to figures revealed in the latest edition of Boat International’s Global Order Book, more than 1,200 superyachts are slated to be built – a rise of 25% on last year.
“The market’s never been busier,” said Will Christie, a superyacht broker. “And I’ve been in the industry 20 years...Everybody just wants freedom, and ultra-high-net-worth individuals can afford it.”
“Whether it’s this or private jets or trips to space, they’re just sticking two fingers up at the rest of society,” said Peter Newell, a professor of international relations at Sussex University. “It’s decadent. They’re not comfortable with the constraints that come with accepting collective responsibility for the fate of the planet.”
The economic anthropologist Richard Wilk, a distinguished professor at Indiana University in the US, said: “Of course, if you add every superyacht together, it’s just a blip on total greenhouse gas production. But it is symbolic – and the global impact of the 2,000-odd billionaires on the planet are very significant. So it’s part of a pattern of overconsumption by the upper crust.”
In research with his colleague Beatriz Barros, he found that the average billionaire had a carbon footprint thousands of times that of the average person. The global average footprint of CO2 emitted per person is just under five tonnes, while they estimated that Roman Abramovich – the top polluter according to their list – was responsible for about 33,859 tonnes of carbon emitted in 2018. More than two-thirds of that was the product of his yacht, the 162.5-metre Eclipse.