Eliasch did reportedly buy 400k acres of Amazon rainforest in 2005. However, he has not revealed how much he spent on the purchase.
Amid discussions around climate change and billionaires flying to space, a photo was shared on Facebook with the claim that "Swedish millionaire Johan Eliasch purchased 400,000 acres of the Amazon from a logging company for $14,000,000 for the sole purpose of its preservation." The user who shared the image states that this is "way more impressive than billionaires racing to space." The photo has been viewed 179.6K times on Facebook in the last 24 hours.
We found that this claim is partly true. The only aspect of the post that we couldn't verify is how much Eliasch spent on the purchase.
In 2005, Johan Eliasch purchased a plant owned by logging company Gethal Amazonas and now owns 400,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest. According to the Guardian, "He bought it, he said, to save it, to preserve its plants and wildlife - and, by preserving the old-growth forest, to do his bit towards counteracting rising CO2 levels." Eliasch told the Wall Street Journal that "land purchases have preserved around 80 million tons of CO2 -- that's the amount that would be released if all his lands were forested and burned -- equivalent to almost half the U.K.'s annual carbon emissions."
However, we cannot determine where the $14m figure comes from. When the Wall Street Journal asked him in 2007, Eliasch did not reveal the purchase price. The Guardian reported in 2006 that the rumored price was around £8 million.
Eliasch is not the only multimillionaire to respond to the problem of climate change by purchasing a large chunk of land. The Guardian reported that "Paul van Vlissingen, owner of Calor gas, has spent £15m on land in Africa. Kris McDivitt, former head of Patagonia clothing, and her husband Doug Tompkins, co-founder of the North Face, own 2m acres in Chile and Argentina. George Soros and Luciano Benetton own 1m and 2m acres of South America, respectively."