Jeff Bezos Pledges $10 Billion To Fight Climate Change
Amazon founder pledges nearly 10% of his own wealth to aid climate scientists, activists and NGO’s as his philanthropic efforts increase.
Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and the founder of Amazon, announced on Monday that he was setting up the new Bezos Earth Fund and will donate $10 billion in an effort to save the Earth’s environment. The new Bezos Earth Fund will start distributing the money this summer.
The multi-billionaire made the announcement in an Instagram post to his 1.4 million followers, stating that “climate change is the biggest threat to our planet”.
Bezos’ post went on to state his intentions, saying: “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 said in the post.
“This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs – any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take a collective effort from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”
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Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund. 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. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals. I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together. – Jeff
Welcomed by many, some have criticised the move by Bezos scarcely a month after it was revealed Bezos’s company Amazon had reportedly threatened to fire any employees who spoke out about the company’s role in the climate crisis.
The move marks a significant increase for Bezos when it comes to charity. Compared to many of his multi-billionaire peers Mr Bezos has not publicly carried out as much philanthropic work as others. Up until his climate pledge, his largest contribution is reportedly a $2bn donation in 2018 to help fund schools and to aid homeless families in his native Seattle.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet”
Some commentators have also criticised Bezos for not signing the Giving Pledge, a popular scheme for the super-rich which involves billionaires to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy during their lifetime or in their wills. A pledge his ex-wife MacKenzie signed up to following their divorce last year.
Monday’s pledge will mean that Bezos, the world’s richest man with a personal net worth of $129.9bn according to Forbes will be donating just under 8% of his total net worth to the climate change cause. The owner of the Washington Post is sure to draw the ire of the US president, Donald Trump, a frequent climate change denier, who he has clashed with on many occasions, notably following Trump’s move to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement.
The announcement Bezos made on Monday follows a recent increase in vocalising his concerns for the impact that we are having on the planet. Last month he spoke at Amazon’s Smbhav summit saying: “Anybody today who is not acknowledging that climate change is real – that we humans are affecting the planet in a very significant and dangerous way – those people are not being reasonable.”
Bezos has also committed Amazon to it’s own climate pledge stating in September 2019 that the company would meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and would be carbon-neutral by 2040