Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and the world’s wealthiest individual, stated Monday that he’s going to utilize his wealth to fight environment modification. He vowed $10 billion, almost 8% of his net worth, for an effort called the Bezos Earth Fund to “explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”
Some environment activists state, nevertheless, that much of this crisis begins with business like Amazon.
Greenpeace and a group of Amazon workers who call themselves Amazon Employees for Climate Justice have actually released declarations stating Bezos’ fund is good, however it does not eliminate from the truth that the business he runs is a huge polluter.
“We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” Amazon Employees for Climate Justice stated in a declaration. “When will Amazon take responsibility for the lungs of children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?”
Amazon has actually been the focus of environment modification demonstrations over the previous months. More than 1,000 business workers around the world held a walkout in September requiring much better environment management and a boycott of oil and gas business. And Amazon Employees for Climate Justice’s subscription has actually swelled to almost 2,000. The staff member actions have actually captured the attention of greater ups, who supposedly threatened to fire a few of these activists for speaking up.
An Amazon representative pointed CNET to the business’s deal with environment modification, that includes a number of networks of wind and solar farms and a Climate Pledge in which Amazon stated it would be carbon neutral by 2040.
To reach the carbon-neutral goal, Bezos announced in September a new $100 million reforestation effort and a new order for 100,000 electric delivery vans to move away from diesel vehicles. Amazon also committed to power its global infrastructure with 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% by 2030. It currently uses 40% renewable energy.
The CEO said the Bezos Earth Fund will help fund scientists, activists and NGOs working to preserve and protect the natural world.
“Earth is the one thing we all have in common,” Bezos said Monday. “Let’s protect it, together.”
Environmental track record
Amazon is far more than the online shopping portal that most people associate with the brand. It’s a multi-billion-dollar company that owns everything from Whole Foods grocery stores to the Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing network. Running massive business like these comes with an environment toll, activists say.
According to Amazon’s own data, it emitted 44.4 million metric tons of carbon in 2018. That’s more than the emissions of almost 150 individual countries, including Norway, Panama and Kenya.
Amazon’s carbon emissions come from a number of sources, such as its massive shipping network that relies mostly on diesel vehicles to get people their same-day delivery packages. It also comes from the electricity needed to power the growing number of data centers that run Amazon Web Services.
“Tech giants like Amazon have made promises to power their data centers with renewable energy,” Greenpeace said in a 2019 report on data centers. “But a closer look into the heart of the internet reveals their rapid growth is driving more investment in fossil fuels.”
Another issue environmental activists have with Amazon is that it works with oil and gas companies — such as BP, Shell and GE Oil & Gas — to help them extract fossil fuels.
“It’s hypocritical to announce that climate change is the biggest threat to our planet while at the same time boosting the fossil fuel industry by providing advanced computing technologies to the oil and gas industry so that it can discover and drill more oil, more efficiently,” Elizabeth Jardim, Greenpeace USA senior campaigner, said in a statement Tuesday.
Amazon has said it’s better for the environment that it partners with these oil and gas companies because it can help the industry find new ways to lower emissions, according to Vice.
Still, both Greenpeace and Amazon Employees for Climate Justice say the way to tackle fossil fuel emissions is to cut back production, not look for new methods of extraction. And as long as Amazon has contracts with those companies, a $10 billion Earth Fund doesn’t amount to much, they say.
“The international scientific community is very clear: burning the oil in wells that oil companies already have developed means we can’t save our planet from climate catastrophe,” Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said. “Will Jeff Bezos show us true leadership or will he continue to be complicit in the acceleration of the climate crisis, while supposedly trying to help?”