The world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, says he will commit $US10 billion ($14.9 billion) of his own money to fund scientists, activists, non-profit organisations and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change.
- The Bezos Earth Fund will start issuing grants by mid-2020
- Mr Bezos is urging large and small companies to help him fight global warming
- He was named the richest man in history in 2018 with a net worth of $US150 billion
Making the announcement on Monday, Mr Bezos joined a growing list of billionaires dedicating substantial funds towards combating the impact of global warming.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Mr Bezos said in an Instagram post.
“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.”
The Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants by the middle of this year as part of the initiative.
“It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organisations and individuals,” Mr Bezos said.
Counteracting climate change has become a popular cause for US billionaires in recent years, with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer counted among the world’s wealthiest environmental philanthropists.
Last year, Mr Bezos pledged to make online retailer Amazon net carbon neutral by 2040, the first major corporation to announce such a goal.
He also announced his intention to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from US vehicle design and manufacturing company Rivian Automotive LLC.
Mr Bezos has pledged to make Amazon net carbon neutral by 2040. (ABC News: Alistair Kroie)
Mr Bezos said at the time that Amazon would meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of schedule, and would invest $US100 million ($149 million) to restore forests and wetlands.
Cutting emissions related to Amazon, which delivers 10 billion items a year and has a massive transportation and datacentre footprint, promises to be challenging.
The company has faced recent protests by environmental activists in France, and rising pressure from its own employees to take action on climate change.
Mr Bezos, who started Amazon in a garage near Seattle in 1994, was named the richest man in history in 2018 after his net worth increased to $US150 billion ($223 billion), having briefly overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates the year before.
IG: Jeff Bezos to donate $US10 billion to climate change