Jeff Bezos to make large donation for climate change

Photo+from+Pixabay.

Photo from Pixabay.

Emel Terzioglu

Last week, Amazon CEO and the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos said that he would commit $10 billion to aid in the fight against climate change. 

Bezos aims to create a new initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund. In a post on Instagram, Bezos said that the effort will fund scientists, activists and nongovernmental organizations, and that he will begin issuing grants this summer.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he wrote. “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.”

  In the past, Bezos has done little by way of philanthropy, with this most recent donation being his largest. Despite having a net worth of $130 billion, Bezos prefers to focus on Amazon and other private ventures. His largest previous donation was $2 billion in 2018, called the Bezos Day One Fund, which aimed to “[fund] existing non-profits that help homeless families, and [create] a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities.” 

 This past September, Amazon released data on its carbon footprint, admitting that it released 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, which is equal to burning almost 600,000 fuel tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline. Following this, Bezos unveiled the Climate Pledge, in which Amazon said it would meet the limits of the Paris Agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and be carbon neutral by 2040. 

While some Amazon employees celebrated the company’s Climate Pledge, many still argued that by providing technology to the oil and gas industry, Amazon is making it less expensive to use fossil fuels, thus making it difficult for the global economy to transition to renewable energy sources. 

The workers formed an organization called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. On Monday, the AECJ said that although they applauded Mr. Bezos’ philanthropy, “one hand cannot give what the other is taking away.”

   According to a person with knowledge of the plan for the Bezos Earth Fund, the fund will provide donations instead of investments that Bezos would expect to see profits from. The fund is not planned to be connected to Amazon.

Following his donation, Bezos will still be the world’s richest man, and he would also have donated one of the largest known commitments made by an individual, according to a database run by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Supporters hope that this large donation by Jeff Bezos will signal to others the growing importance of climate change.