Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to Spend $10B to Fight Climate Change

CBS News
February 18, 2020 - 10:32 am
Jeff Bezos

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday that he plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune to help fight climate change.

Bezos, the world's richest man, said in an Instagram post that he'll start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits working to protect the Earth.

"I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change," Bezos said in the post.

Amazon, the company Bezos runs, has an enormous carbon footprint. Last year, the company released 44.4 million metric tons of CO2 — as much as Hong Kong, but less than Walmart. Last year, Amazon officials said the company would work to have 100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030.

Software giant Microsoft has a similar goal and plans to achieve its goal by 2030, eventually removing more carbon from the environment than it emits. 

Amazon for its part relies on fossil fuels to power planes, trucks and vans in order to ship billions of items all around the world. Amazon workers in its Seattle headquarters have been vocal in criticizing some of the company's practices, pushing it to do more to combat climate change. Some workers also pushed for a shareholder resolution requiring Amazon to reduce its carbon footprint. While the resolution failed, Amazon revealed details on its carbon emissions and pledged to cut it shortly after.

Bezos said in the post he will call his new initiative the Bezos Earth Fund. An Amazon spokesman confirmed that Bezos will be using his own money for the fund.

Carbon emissions have contributed to the overall warming of the planet and scientists say that warming is very close to having globally disastrous effects. 

"We can save Earth," Bezos said in his post. "It's going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals."

Despite being among the richest people in the world, Bezos only recently became active in donating money to causes as other billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have done. In 2018, Bezos started another fund, committing $2 billion of his own money to open preschools in low-income neighborhoods and give money to nonprofits that help homeless families.

Bezos, who founded Amazon 25 years ago, has a stake in the company that is worth more than $100 billion.