Given how Amazon had a corporate carbon-footprint of over 44 million metric tons in 2018—equivalent to that of small country—Bezos’s commitment, read along with Amazon’s pledge to become a zero carbon company by 2040, signals serious climate action.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is committing $10 billion of his personal wealth to finance climate crisis action. It is likely to be the largest funding commitment from an individual towards perhaps the most pressing problem of the present. Board members and investors of the Breakthrough Energy Ventures, including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bezos, and Softbank’s Masayoshi Son, have committed over $1 billion to fund promising companies in taking “great ideas from the lab to market at scale”. But, Bezos’s individual commitment widens the pool of climate solution actors by recognising the role of scientists and activists as well. Considering the Green Climate Fund that was supposed to receive $100 billion from developed nations to fund climate action in developing and least developed nations by 2020 actually has a commitment of just $5.4 billion so far, Bezos’s action is exemplary. Given how Amazon had a corporate carbon-footprint of over 44 million metric tons in 2018—equivalent to that of small country—Bezos’s commitment, read along with Amazon’s pledge to become a zero carbon company by 2040, signals serious climate action.
A meaningful fight against the climate crisis that is unfolding right now will, of course, need much larger funding. From reafforestation to sustainable technology, including renewables, the fight has to be at many fronts, and must involve the global community rather than individual action even at the level of one or a handful of nations. For instance, the progress that India and China are making on climate action can’t set off the consequences of the reluctance of some of the most developed nations to act. While the planet would benefit from more corporate actors stepping up—not just with donations for climate action, but also investment in clean technology—the real impetus has to come from governments, especially those of the US, Australia and other such nations that are dragging their feet, in some cases out of climate denialism!