Jeff Bezos, world's richest man, pledges $10 billion to tackle climate change

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By Alice Tidey
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Washington, US, on Sept. 19, 2019.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Washington, US, on Sept. 19, 2019.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File   -   Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged on Monday to spend $10 billion (€9.2 billion) of his personal fortune to help tackle climate change.

Bezos is the world's richest person with a fortune estimated at over $130 billion (€120 billion).

The Bezos Earth Fund is to issue grants to scientists, activists and NGOs, the businessman said in an Instagram post.

"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 the planet we all share," he wrote.

Amazon, the company he founded out of his garage in the mid-1990s, has grown into a global behemoth.

It disclosed last year that it had emitted 44.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018. In contrast, Apple is estimated that it had emitted 25.2 million tonnes of CO2 during its 2018 fiscal year.

Amazon's disclosure and subsequent pledge to have all its energy needs met by renewable sources by 2030 — compared to 40% in 2019 — was welcomed by employees who had previously walked out to urge it to do more in the fight against climate change.

In a statement released after Bezos's latest announcement, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group said it applauded their boss's philanthropy, adding however: "one hand cannot give what the other is taking away."

"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 the children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?," it also wrote.