Earlier this week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos vowed to mitigate the impact of climate change by establishing the Bezos Earth Fund. He’s committed $10 billion to start the fund, making it one of the largest charitable pledges to date. The fund has earmarked delivery of grants for this summer to various activists, nonprofits and scientists who strive for better stewardship of Earth. However, critics of the company, such as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) and Greenpeace, nonetheless warn that Amazon is still heavily invested in fossil fuels and thus cannot be a bona fide climate champion.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos recently tweeted. “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.”
While Bezos’ gesture is hailed by some as generous, several hundred Amazon employees of AECJ still maintain reservations about the company’s environmental impact.
A major grievance held by AECJ members is the belief that Bezos “will continue to be complicit in the acceleration of the climate crisis, while supposedly trying to help.” AECJ members continued, “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? When will Amazon take responsibility for the lungs of children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?”
Bezos has also been under fire from Greenpeace. Greenpeace USA tweeted a response to the fund: “So @JeffBezos just announced his $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund to address the #ClimateEmergency… and we have questions. First the big one: why won’t Bezos lead by cleaning up his own house? Amazon has massive climate issues.”
Greenpeace USA Senior Campaigner Elizabeth Jardim explained, “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. Amazon also still has work to do to ensure its growing network of data centers fully shifts away from fossil fuels, and the company must transparently report its energy use as Google and Apple do.”
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