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Jeff Bezos Pledges $10 Billion to Combat Climate Change

Earth and Sun as seen from low orbit.

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Jeff Bezos is one of the most influential business people in the world. His vision has helped build Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) rise from an online bookseller to the e-commerce and cloud computing giant. Recently, Bezos made a huge commitment of his financial resources, dedicating $10 billion of his fortune toward the creation of what he's calling the Bezos Earth Fund. With the initiative, Bezos has a simple goal: to save the planet. 

Fighting Climate Change

Bezos explained in his Instagram post launching the fund that his aim was to protect Earth from the threat of climate change. The Amazon leader admitted that it'll take a coordinated effort from multiple corners in order to succeed, requiring the cooperation of businesses both large and small, national governments, nongovernmental organizations with global scope, and everyday individuals to achieve its ends.

However, Bezos said he wants to play his role in helping to get the effort moving more effectively. To kick this off he has pledged $10 billion in funding for grants aimed at addressing specific elements of the climate change threat.

The billionaire is happy to provide money for a wide range of uses. Scientists who can do research to try to solve particular climate change problems would be natural candidates for funding, as would global organizations seeking ways to preserve the current global ecosystem. Bezos would even fund activists looking for ways to incite local and national governments to take more aggressive action to fight climate change.

Bezos Earth Fund intends to start making grants this summer, and those who follow climate change work will want to see just how quickly the Amazon leader puts his money to work. But just because Bezos has made a $10 billion commitment doesn't mean that he'll spend anywhere close to that amount of money in the initial grant-making process. It will be interesting to see what kinds of projects actually get funding and only then will it be possible to assess the impact of Bezos' efforts and in what timeframe.

This isn't the first time that Bezos has put his money to work, although its scope is much larger than previous efforts. Past philanthropy has centered on families and communities in need, providing support to community leaders providing food and shelter for young families and building a network of preschools to serve children in communities where opportunities are currently lacking. An initial gift of $2 billion created those funds, showing the greater priority Bezos is putting on climate change.

Yet the move to support climate change efforts doesn't entirely sit well with everyone. Amazon's track record in joining the movement toward corporate sustainability has been slow, with the e-commerce giant have fought against commitments to use 100% renewable energy across its infrastructure long after many of its tech peers had already achieved those goals.
 
In particular, the need to transport all the packages that Amazon.com customers order presents a massive challenge for the company. Even Amazon's recent plans to reach net-zero carbon emission levels by 2040 are too slow for some critics -- despite their being a decade faster than what the Paris climate change accords five years ago had envisioned more broadly.
 

 

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The Florida Solar Rights Act is a law that forbids any entity—including homeowner associations—from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings.

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