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Amazon's Jeff Bezos just donated $10 billion to fight climate change. But it's not enough.

The wealthiest man in the world had pledged a whopping amount to help the planet, but critics believe Bezos needs to do more.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos just donated $10 billion to fight climate change. But it's not enough.
Image Source: Amazon Co-founds The Climate Pledge. WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Amazon)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Monday that he would donate $10 billion towards projects fighting climate change, Fox News reports. The money will be pledged in parts through grants via Bezos Earth fund, a new fund that is expected to benefit scientists, activists, and nongovernmental organizations. This project is one of the few philanthropic engagements the billionaire has engaged in, and it has already received much criticism. At present, Amazon's negative impact on the environment is substantial. In 2018 alone, the company emitted a whopping 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, making it one of the top 150 or 200 emitters in the world. Critics wonder if Bezos' company will fall in line with his pledge.




The CEO announced his donation via a post uploaded to Instagram. Posting a photo of planet Earth, he wrote, "Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund.⁣⁣⁣ Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. 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." He then highlighted how the Bezos Earth Fund will be utilized. "This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world," he explained. "We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation-states, global organizations, and individuals. ⁣⁣⁣I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together.⁣⁣⁣"




At present, Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world. His net worth clocks in at about $130 billion; his donation, therefore, amounts to 7.7 percent of his net worth. For the past few years, he has focused on expanding Amazon and other business venture, such as Blue Origin, a company which manufactures rockets. He also owns The Washington Post. His most recent act of generosity was seen in September 2018, when he donated $2 billion to helping homeless families get back on their feet and building a network of Montessori preschools. This was an effort he took on in collaboration with his then-wife MacKenzie Bezos.




Following their divorce, she signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment taken up by the world's richest people to give away at least half of their wealth during their lifetime or, alternatively, in their wills. Bezos did not sign this pledge. Of course, he received plenty of backlash for this decision. But that is not the only time he was dealt criticism. Hundreds of Amazon employees staged walkouts and publicly voiced their opinions regarding the company's anti-environment policies. It has been estimated that Amazon burns close to 600,000 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline. Therefore, Bezos initiated the Climate Pledge, affirming that his company would meet the objectives of the Paris climate agreement a decade ahead of the original plan. He also claimed Amazon would be carbon-neutral by 2040.




At the time, the move was highly praised by Amazon's employees. However, some workers reported that they had faced retaliation for their activism. Following the announcement of the Bezos Earth Fund, these workers, part of the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group, asserted, "One hand cannot give what the other is taking away." In a formal statement, they remarked, "The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil and 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?" It is unclear how Amazon will respond to these criticisms. Similarly, Bezos has been condemned for finding tax loopholes and hoarding wealth. Should climate justice truly be achieved, class inequality must also be destroyed.



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