Climate activists invest in property on beaches they say are disappearing

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

From Bill and Melinda Gates to climate envoy John Kerry, climate activists have sounded the alarm about how melting ice will soon raise the ocean to levels that swallow the world’s beaches.

But some of the country's most vocal climate change activists have invested heavily in luxury oceanfront property along beaches they’ve claimed will be underwater one day due to rising sea levels.

Climate activists have long faced charges of hypocrisy from critics who accuse them of lecturing others about making sacrifices for the environment while declining to live by that example themselves. For instance, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pilloried in the media in 2019 after the two flew on a private jet just days after Prince Harry wrote on social media that “every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference” in protecting the environment.

More recently, Kerry faced criticism for flying on a private jet to Iceland to accept an environmental award. And Kerry is one of several activists who have put millions into homes on the water.

Kerry has warned about rising sea levels in the past; he did so, for example, as secretary of state, painting sea level rise in Virginia as a sign of the larger threat posed by climate change.

Speaking in Indonesia in 2014, he warned Asian nations that they could see their countries destroyed by rising sea levels that, he said, could put entire cities underwater.

He has even mocked people whom he believed to be insufficiently concerned about rising sea levels, saying in 2015: “We have people who still deny this, members of a flat-Earth society that seem to believe that — who seem to believe that ocean rise won’t be a problem because the water will just spill over the edge.”

But Kerry’s concerns did not prevent him from investing considerably in oceanfront property that, by his own accounts, could be underwater in a matter of decades.

Kerry spent $11.75 million in 2017 for a sprawling estate on the beach in Martha’s Vineyard. The property includes more than 18 acres of land on which his seven-bedroom home sits, overlooking the Vineyard Sound.

Bill and Melinda Gates, passionate climate activists, also shelled out a small fortune for a luxury waterfront home.

Last year, the couple, who are presently in the midst of a divorce, paid $43 million for a massive house on the beach in Del Mar, California, near San Diego.

But Bill Gates has issued dire warnings that beaches, like the one on which he has invested in property, will be wiped out by higher ocean levels in a matter of years.

“There will be places near the ocean [that] the sea-level rise will completely wipe out,” Gates told the Miami Herald in February. “You know, like Miami won’t look anything like it does today. Those beaches will be all gone.”

Former President Barack Obama has warned extensively about rising sea levels, arguing in the past that such trends pose a threat to national security.

“Climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people,” Obama said in a 2015 speech.

Marty Nesbitt, a close friend of the Obamas and chairman of the Obama Foundation, purchased a tract of land in Hawaii for $8.7 million in 2015, miles from where the two families would visit every Christmas during the president's time in office, and is building a trio of houses on the beachfront estate.

The Obamas are believed to be planning to occupy at least one of the houses when construction is complete.

The project has been controversial locally, in large part because the developers requested and received an exemption from Hawaii’s environmental laws to leave in place an old sea wall on the beach.

Environmental experts say sea walls contribute significantly to beach erosion and should be removed, but plans were submitted to the state to expand the sea wall on the property.

The Obamas own an $11.75 million mansion in Martha's Vineyard, near the water as well.

Even Al Gore, whose warnings about the danger of climate change have been among the most dramatic from a politician, has invested in property overlooking the ocean he says will wipe out coastal towns.


Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, warned that the sea could rise by as much as 20 feet “in the near future.”

Gore has made a number of dire predictions about the speed at which Arctic ice will melt, causing the oceans to swell, that have not occurred on the aggressive timelines he’s suggested.

But Gore invested nearly $9 million into an ocean view property in Montecito, California, in 2009. The lush property had a swimming pool, spa, wine cellar, and six fireplaces.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Climate Change, John Kerry, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Martha's Vineyard

Original Author: Sarah Westwood

Original Location: Climate activists invest in property on beaches they say are disappearing

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting