Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, and world’s richest man announced on (Instagram) that he’s spent a huge amount of $10 billion to combat climate change.
In a post on Monday morning, Bezos announced that the Bezos Earth Fund will finance “scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”
Jeff Bezos is already an investor in Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund whose goal is to finance the development of technologies that can fight climate change and reduce the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions in industries, including energy generation, food production, and manufacturing.
The money that Bezos’ will be spending is from his personal wealth and is separate from Amazon, according to a spokesperson for the company.
In January, Amazon was criticized by a group of its employees for allegedly threatening to fire members of an organization called Amazon Employees For Climate Justice.
The group responded to Bezos’ announcement with a statement of its own. Writing:
As history has taught us, true visionaries stand up against entrenched systems, often at great cost to themselves. We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away. The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells? When is Amazon going to stop funding climate-denying think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and climate-delaying policy? When will Amazon take responsibility for the lungs of children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?
Late last year, Amazon committed to net-zero carbon emissions from all of its operations by 2040 and that it will use 100% renewable energy by 2030 to power it’s entire corporate infrastructure. This commitment aligns with other big tech corporations like Alphabet (which announced that it was buying 5.5 gigawatts of renewable power last year) and Microsoft, which laid out the most aggressive strategic response to climate change of any tech company earlier this year.
These initiatives from public sector technology companies and the world’s richest citizens can only achieve so much without the support of the U.S. government, which under the administration has been reluctant to move forward with any significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. Indeed, the administration has loosened or tried to reverse 95 regulations related to the environment, including 44 related to air pollution and emissions and oil and gas extraction.
As Bezos says in his statement, solving climate change “is going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation-states, global organizations, and individuals.”