The New York Times 18th February 2020, 10:42:12 AM IST
Jeff Bezos, managing director of Amazon and richest man in the world, said on Monday that he had committed $ 1
Efforts will fund scientists, activists and non-governmental organizations, he said in a post on Instagram. Bezos, who has been urged on climate issues by Amazon employees, said he expects to start granting this summer.
"Climate change is the greatest threat to our planet," he wrote. "I want to work with others to broaden known avenues and explore new ways to combat the devastating effects of climate change on this planet that we all share."
Bezos has had little philanthropy in the past, and with a net worth of $ 130 billion, he long preferred to be on Amazon and other private ones Focusing companies like Blue Origin, which makes rockets, Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
More recently, Bezos has increased its donations, its largest donation to date being the $ 2 billion that was unveiled in September 2018 to homeless people Help families and a network of Mont establishing essori preschools, an effort that he announced with his then wife MacKenzie.
After the couple's divorce last year, MacKenzie Bezos said she signed the Giving Pledge, which encourages the world's richest people to commit to giving away at least half of their wealth during their lives or in their wills. Jeff Bezos has not signed the promise.
In September, Jeff Bezos unveiled the climate pledge, saying that Amazon would achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and be climate neutral by 2040. As part of the promise, he said Amazon had ordered 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based company in which Amazon invested.
At the time, Bezos said the Earth's climate was changing faster than the scientific community predicted in five years. "These predictions were bad, but what actually happens is terrible," he said.
Bezos made this promise after Amazon employees were excited about climate change. For a year, employees pushed Amazon to make its climate targets more aggressive, organize strikes, and publicly talk about how the company could do better.
With huge data centers that support cloud computing and a global network for shipping and delivering packages, Amazon's environmental impact is significant. In September, the company announced its own carbon footprint for the first time and announced that it emitted around 44.4 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 – the equivalent of burning gasoline worth nearly 600,000 tankers.
"That would make them Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America, a non-profit organization that promotes the disclosure of CO2 emissions, said in an interview at the time.
Amazon, alongside the 150 or 200 issuers in the world, ”said Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America. Employees welcomed the company's climate promise, but continued to urge executives to no longer provide oil and cloud computing services To provide gas industry. They argued that cheaper exploration and production of fossil fuels would make it difficult to convert the global economy to renewable energy.
Amazon resisted the pressure and stated in a policy statement that “the energy industry should have access to the same technologies as in other industries. “
Some employees also said that Amazon resisted them because of their activism. Amazon said employees should channel their ideas through internal forums such as company meetings and lunches with the sustainability team.
Employees said on Monday about their Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group that they applauded Bezos & # 39; philanthropy even though they had Bezos & # 39; Philanthropy applauded. "One hand cannot give what the other takes away."
As a contributor, here's our statement on Jeff Bezos & # 39; Earth Fund announcement (as image): pic.twitter.com/opgcCpa67D  – Amazon Associate for Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) February 17, 2020
They added, “People on earth need to know: When will Amazon stop helping oil and gas companies devastate the earth with even more oil and gas sources? When will Amazon stop funding climate-damaging think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and climate delay policies? "
Margaret O & # 39; Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who deals with the history of technology companies, called the New Bezos Fund" a very strong statement "and said that the actions of the Amazon CEO followed the steps followed by other tech moguls, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, to address the warming planet.
Philanthropy, she added, usually comes with the accumulation of large fortunes. "This is another reminder that we are in a second gilded age," she said.
Bezos provided only rudimentary details of what the Bezos Earth Fund would do and did not directly address priorities it would support other than "any" efforts that offer a real opportunity to preserve and protect the natural world To contribute to the world. "
As history has taught us, true visionaries stand against deeply rooted systems, often at high cost for themselves. We welcome Jeff Bezos & # 39; philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other takes away.
– Amazon employee for climate justice (@AMZNforClimate) February 17, 2020
Since at least high school, Bezos has seen space exploration as a way to preserve Earth. He came up with the idea that heavy industry could be in space and make the planet cleaner for human use.
"If you want to protect the earth, save the earth, we have to go into space," he said in a speech a year ago.
The new fund will provide donations, rather than making investments that Bezos would expect to make a profit, publicly speaking to a person with knowledge of the plan who was not authorized to do so. The new fund is not affiliated with Amazon. According to a database from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the donation is one of the greatest known commitments of an individual.
Even if Bezos spent every $ 10 billion immediately, he said he would still be the richest man in the world on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This month, Bezos sold more than $ 4 billion in Amazon shares under a set trading plan. Amazon declined to comment on the stock sales.
Bezos also spent his fortune in other ways. He recently agreed to pay $ 165 million for a Beverly Hills property owned by David Geffen, the media mogul and co-founder of DreamWorks. Regardless, Bezos Expeditions, which oversees The Post and Bezos charitable foundation, is buying 120 vacant acres in Beverly Hills for $ 90 million, though the deal is ongoing.
Karen Weise c.2020 The New York Times Company
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