Can Bezo’s Billions Move the Needle on Climate?

February 17, 2020


Today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that he would be committing $10 billion to fight climate change through a new fund called the Bezos Earth Fund.

He announced new fund in a post on Instagram.

Bezos said that the money will be used to help scientists, activists, NGOs, and “any effort that offers a real possibility” to help preserve the earth from the impact of climate change. A person close to the fund told The Verge that it would not engage in private sector investment, but focus entirely on charitable giving. 

The fund plans to begin issuing grants this summer, but right now, there are few hard details besides what Bezos shared on Instagram, so it’s unclear exactly how or when applications for grants will be accepted.

Bezos is worth about $130 billion, so committing $10 billion to philanthropy isn’t taking a huge chunk out of Bezos’ net worth. Bezos hasn’t been quite as vocal as other tech billionaires about his philanthropy, though in 2018, he did launch announce a network of free nonprofit preschools to be built in low-income communities. And in 2017, he polled Twitter for philanthropy ideas that could assist people in need in the near-term.

Not everyone impressed.

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice:

This morning, Jeff Bezos announced he is donating $10 billion to his new “Bezos Earth Fund.” Following that news, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice issued the following statement: 

“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.

As history has taught us, true visionaries stand up against entrenched systems, often at great cost to themselves. We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away. The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & 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?

Why did Amazon threaten to fire employees who were sounding the alarm about Amazon’s role in the climate crisis and our oil and gas business? What this shows is that employees speaking out works–we need more of that right now. 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?”

25 Responses to “Can Bezo’s Billions Move the Needle on Climate?”

  1. pendantry Says:

    Your ‘Reblog’ button isn’t working, for me 😦 Don’t know if it’s something wrong at my end or at yours.

  2. pendantry Says:

    Reblogged this on Wibble and commented:
    It’s about time the PFJ took off! This is a start… we need the rest of the 1% to chip in, too….

  3. Keith Omelvena Says:

    The best $$ he could spend, would be on getting rid of Trump! The rest is just fluff!

  4. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

  5. Every effort is needed to get things done against Climate Change.

  6. Bryson Brown Says:

    I can’t help thinking about what could be done if Mr. Bezos and his ilk had been required to pay taxes at (say) 1960 rates.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      ….And instead of being refunded to the greedy rich through Repugnant tax cuts, that money had been used to fund the EPA and NASA’s earth study programs, (those programs that are now being cut by the stable genius), we might have had a better understanding of climate change, how close catastrophe looms, and how we might better fight it.

      Oh well, we shall see if Bezos’ $$$$ really makes a difference. Come back in a year (if the planet hasn’t burst into flames) and we’ll see.

      OT but related—-I’m beginning to think that Bloomberg might be the best nominee, solely because he is willing to spend 100’s of millions (up to 400 at latest count) to beat the Orange POS—-if he took Elizabeth Warren as his Veep and mentioned some good candidates for cabinet positions, that might be a ticket I could vote for.

      • jimbills Says:

        He’s going to get slaughtered in the debates – even Trump would wipe the floor with him. He won’t appeal to the Rust Belt vs. Trump, he won’t appeal in the South vs. Trump, and the liberal wing will revolt, even with Trump as President, if he’s the nominee. He’d be an absolute disaster as a candidate.

        He only has his ego and his money going for him, and Middle America is going to react very poorly to his money. The Democrats have a real risk of being viewed as the ‘elitist’ party of the U.S. with a populist on the Republican side, and this would seal it.

        In the meantime, he’s destroying the chances of Klobuchar/Buttigieg/Biden, and he might be hurting Warren’s chances as well. There was a brief time where Warren was getting buzz as the ‘friendlier’ progressive choice over Sanders, but that has since faded.

        Drudge had a report on HC being his VP:

        Some might think that’s a good idea, but if that happens they might as well just skip the election and hand Trump a lifetime Presidency.

        Now, Sanders is also a major risk as a candidate. He’d be far more likely to pick Warren than Bloomberg would as VP, and that would mean an even more progressive ticket. I’d vote for that ticket, or a Warren/Sanders ticket, in every version of the multiverse – but it’d be uncharted waters as far as how it would go in the general.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Good points all, but let’s see how he does in the primaries he has entered. In this country, money talks, and it almost seems as if he has been outspending the car dealers. drug companies, and fast food outlets combined in the Washington DC TV market, as well as putting out some print ads.

          Since no one else among the Democrats appears willing to spend the kind of money the Repugnant Dark Money interests will, Bloomberg’s effort against Trump may be the only thing folks see (and could help many lower spots on the tickets in the states.

          PS I burst out laughing when I heard the Drudge foolishness of a Mike and Hillary ticket—-fake news at its finest.

          • jimbills Says:

            In Texas, every other commercial is a Bloomberg one. That’s not an exaggeration.

            They’re all one note, though – and the man has the charisma of an eel. Democrats ONLY in Texas might vote for him just based on the ads, but if the choice is billionaire New Yorker vs. a ‘billionaire’ New Yorker in the general, Texas won’t flip to D this time.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Super Tuesday draws near—-we shall see!

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Bloomberg is a multibillionaire who has bought out almost every actor in the Democratic establishment. Every Congressperson, the DNC – his influence is everywhere.

            He is an opportunist, who used to be a Republican. If it wasn’t for him backing a Republican, the Democrats would control Congress and Kavanaugh would not be on the bench.

            He is the opposite of Sanders, a self-interested oligarch Libertarian and may well be worse for common man if he gets elected than even Trump, because Bloomberg and his people are competent.

            Bloomberg sucks.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “….and may well be worse for common man if he gets elected than even Trump”.

            WHOA, GB! Calm down and wipe the spittle off your chin! NOBODY could be worse than Trump!

          • jimbills Says:

            For the record, I actually think Klobuchar is the best bet against Trump. Even as a moderate, I think she’d manage best to unite both the progressives and centrists. I think she or Sanders would fair best against Trump in the debates, but she’d manage to get centrist independents in the general whereas Sanders won’t. Plus, she’s from Minnesota, and she’d put a lot of the Rust Belt in play. Additionally, the U.S. knows a woman is due for the Presidency.

            But first, she’d need to get the nomination. To me, Bloomberg running just kills the already slim chances for her. The guy’s ego is blinding him to the great harm he’s doing to the Democrats’ chances this election.

            Personally, I’m much more in favor of Sanders/Warren than her, but she’d actually have my vote if she got the nomination.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I’ll vote for ANY Democrat that gets the nomination. Saw a great bumper sticker the other day—-ANY RATIONAL HUMAN 3020

  7. jimbills Says:

    Well, this what we’re reduced to. ‘Hoping’ a billionaire like Bezos or Bill Gates, when they’re not buying the world’s most expensive homes or largest yachts, will magically turn the tide on our global resource and environmental issues.

    Instead of spending decades as a cohesive whole working on the issue, a handful of the ridiculously wealthy will spend a fraction of their wealth on it. For comparison to that $10 billion, the U.S. alone spends over $600 billion on just the military – per year.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Don’t minimize the potential impact of $10 billion spent in the right places.

      That $600 billion spent on the military supports millions of people scattered all over the world playing with some rather expensive toys and 1/60 of that amount spent with the proper focus is not insubstantial.

      Some facts about the DOD—-“With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 718,000 civilian personnel, we are the nation’s largest employer. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. More than 2 million military retirees and their family members receive benefits”.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        2.5 million people employed doing nothing important and often doing things unethical at the tune of a trillion dollars a year – and you are cheering them on?

        We no longer need boots on the ground. We need intelligence, assassins, technology, and exquisitely-targeted munitions.

        You rail constantly about the rich and entitled. Yet, as soon as Bloomberg sticks his nose under the tent flap, all is forgotten.

        You are getting on my effing nerves. You are getting as inconsistent as me, and that is not a good thing.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          No, the only thing inconsistent about my thoughts is your ability to understand them (or resist taking a shot because you’re bored up there in VT?).

          Not cheering them on, but merely pointing out that Bezos IS putting up a pile of money, and that’s better than the alternative—IF he actually does it soon and where it matters.

          I’m also a rationalist—-that’s why I don’t like Musk’s “we’re moving to Mars” BS. BUT, when I see a rich guy standing up for things I believe in AND willing to throw a lot of his $$$$ into the pot, I will NOT yet stomp on his nose when it sneaks under the tent flap—who knows where the next few months will take us.

          PS I know you’re sometimes math-impaired, but the number you were looking for is 3,218,000

  8. redskylite Says:

    Tegridy or not, looks like the money is needed and welcomed. .

    With the crisis of global heating now widely recognised as one of the most challenging issues facing the world today, you might assume that vast amounts of money are going into climate research.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      The money IS needed.

      The obvious answer is to tax billionaires at 99.9% and use the funds to finance efficiency, education and advancing wiser lives, clean safe renewable energy, transforming forestry, agriculture and industry. Money from Bezos, Gates, Bloomberg and a few friends could fund a free public US national-international high speed rail network that would eliminate 80% of the emissions of all the flying it replaced, and a high % of the emissions of the ICEV and even EV driving it replaced. Funding enough new renewable energy infrastructure to power the network would advance RE in the US and world, bring the price down more and provide a model for the world.

      These larcenous morons will never do anything remotely that smart or helpful. They will instead advance their egos and reinforce their disturbed ideologies and psychopathologies while diverting funds, expertise, and attention from where it needs to be to do some good. Even bothering to report on their actions is a waste of time and electrons.

  9. redskylite Says:

    From “Wired”

    Jeff Bezos wants to fix climate change. He can start with Amazon

    The world’s richest man has pledged $10 billion to the fight against climate change. But the true test of his commitment to saving the planet will be where Amazon goes next

  10. Roger Walker Says:

    I used to be British and I’ve lived in France for 40 years. So I have an outside view. It seems screamingly obvious to me that Bernie is the only worthwhile candidate. Anyone else would be mired in the centrist Democrat minimalist approach. The US needs a total shakeup and only Bernie is prepared to do that. AOC is too young to run for president, but can she run as VP? Bernie + AOC would be perfect ticket for me. Give the voters a clear choice and dare them to accept their responsibility.

    God… No, good luck America!

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