Energy & Environment

Jeff Bezos Announces $10 Billion Fund to Combat Climate Change

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC’s ‘Milestone Celebration Dinner’ in Washington, D.C., September 13, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Monday that he was committing an initial $10 billion to “the Bezos Earth Fund” in order to fund “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post. “ . . . We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”

With an estimated net worth of $130 billion, Bezos is putting up approximately 7.7 percent of his total wealth in the initiative. He said he would begin to issue grants to scientists, activists, NGO’s over the summer.

The announcement comes after Amazon employees urged Bezos to “spend more money on fighting Climate Change than on space exploration!” in a January Medium post last month.

Amazon told Business Insider in response that the company’s efforts were already substantial.

“We founded the Climate Pledge, committing to net-zero carbon by 2040, which is ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. We plan to be using 100% renewable energy by 2030, and we have thousands of people working on sustainability initiatives across the company,” a company spokesman said.

Climate change plays a central role in $760 billion infrastructure plan released last month by House Democrats, with infrastructure investment serving as a potential rare opportunity for bipartisanship in light of President Trump’s promise to invest $1 trillion in improving the nation’s aging infrastructure.

“They shouldn’t have any objection to new, more climate friendly materials that are actually going to save the taxpayers money,” House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio told reporters in the plan’s unveiling. “I think there’s a lot of things we could agree on.”

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