Jeff Bezos is donating $1 billion of his $10 billion local weather philanthropy pledge to guard biodiversity and carbon-saving forests within the Andes, the Congo Basin, and the tropical Pacific Ocean. After almost three many years main Amazon, which has an enormous and rising carbon footprint, Bezos appears intent on forging a brand new id as an environmentalist and maybe the world’s most beneficiant financier within the battle towards local weather change. And that costly journey to house he simply took? Bezos says it was enlightening.
“Nature is our life help system and it’s fragile,” the billionaire mentioned Monday at a press convention. “I used to be reminded of this simply this July once I went into house with Blue Origin. I’d heard that seeing the Earth from house adjustments one’s viewpoint of the world, however I used to be not ready for simply how a lot that will be true.”
Whereas the fundraising effort is definitely notable, Bezos’s dedication to defending the surroundings serves as a stark reminder that a lot of his legacy and largely untaxed fortune was constructed by corporations which have staggering carbon footprints. Amazon’s carbon emissions have grown yearly since 2018, and final 12 months alone, when international carbon emissions fell roughly 7 p.c, Amazon’s carbon emissions grew 19 p.c to 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s roughly equal to burning 140 million barrels of oil.
Amazon has moved to scale back its dependence on fossil fuels, like committing to electrifying its supply automobiles, and it has recruited dozens of corporations to signal its Local weather Pledge, a company dedication to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. However for now, Amazon stays reliant on huge fleets of polluting supply automobiles, wasteful packaging, and even a brand new fleet of jet-fuel-powered planes to maintain speedily delivering stuff to impatient web shoppers.
In the meantime, Amazon Net Companies (AWS) makes use of huge quantities of vitality to maintain its servers on-line. In 2019, Greenpeace accused the cloud computing firm of abandoning its pledge to make use of 100% renewable vitality and mentioned that a number of the largest AWS knowledge facilities used simply 12 p.c renewable vitality. And at the same time as different corporations, like Google, have moved away from providing some cloud companies to fossil gas corporations, AWS nonetheless lists Shell, Hess, and BP as prospects.
Bezos is technically now not a part of Amazon. However Blue Origin, the personal spaceflight firm he owns that just lately took him to house, has raised environmental considerations. Whereas the house rocket firm has used carbon-free fuels — specifically, a mix of liquid hydrogen and oxygen — making these fuels continues to be environmentally expensive, and environmentalists warn that Blue Origin rockets nonetheless go away behind particles that may hurt the ambiance.
So when seen from a sure perspective, Bezos’s environmental philanthropy feels a bit like an effort to wash up a multitude his corporations helped make.