Climate activists attack Walmart heiress’ $300m yacht – again

Climate activists in Barcelona on Friday sprayed paint on Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie’s $300m superyacht – marking the second such attack in two months.

In July, members of the Spanish environmental group Futuro Vegetal vandalised the vessel with black and red paint before holding up a sign that read: “You Consume Others Suffer”.

Seven weeks later, two activists from Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion sprayed biodegradable red paint on the stern of the yacht at around 7am local time on Friday, while it was docked at Marina Port Vell in Barcelona.

The words “Billionaires Should Not Exist” were written on a banner they unfurled afterwards.

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, Scientist Rebellion confirmed their protest which was carried out to “denounce billionaires’ enormous impact on the climate crisis”.

They also highlighted the findings of a 2022 Oxfam report.

The report, published last November, found that a billionaire’s average annual emissions are a million times higher than someone outside the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population, when including emissions from their investments.

A spokesperson for the port told CNN the megayacht was not damaged in Friday’s attack and had since been returned to “a perfect state”.

A representative for Scientist Rebellion told the news website the protestors were detained by police at the marina for three hours before they were released.

On the same day, climate change demonstrators disrupted the US Open women’s semi-final match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova, with at least one person gluing their feet to the floor in the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands.

Ms Laurie inherited a stake in Walmart in 1995 from her father Bud Walton, who turned the brand into an American retail behemoth with his brother Sam Walton.

Forbes estimates her net worth at $9.3bn as of 9 September.

Her 361-foot-long yacht “Kaos” is worth around $300m and can accommodate 31 guests and a 45-person crew.

It includes an aquarium, a cinema, separate gyms for guests as well as crew, and a small hospital for emergencies.

The climate activists’ protest comes on the heels of an intense heatwave that gripped Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Italy, this summer.

Wildfires erupted across the region, as Spain was faced with the third-worst summer for forest fires in 10 years.

Temperatures soared as high as 46.8C in some parts of the country this year.

According to a report published by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) in May, the record-breaking heatwave that swept across southern Europe and north Africa in April was made “at least a 100 times more likely” because of the climate emergency.

A coalition of international scientists, the WWA said the extreme heat would’ve been “statistically impossible” in the absence of human-induced global warming.