Jeff Bezos took a break from flaunting his alleged Instagram friendship with Lizzo on Monday to announce that he’s pledging $10 billion to help fight climate change. Granted, he still has another $120 billion left over, plus his company’s one-day shipping policy is killing the planet anyway, so I will provide my snaps with some reservations.
Buzzfeed reports that the $10 billion is part of the world’s richest man’s new Bezos Earth Fund, which intends to “fund scientists, activists, NGOs—any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world,” according to a post on Bezos’s Instagram. Bezos says the initial $10 billion will seed grants that the fund will begin issuing this summer, assuming the oceans haven’t already come for us by then.
Obviously, $10 billion to fight climate change is better than no billions to fight climate change. But, again, $10 billion is only about 7.5 percent of Bezos’s net worth, and Earth is 100 percent of Bezos’s home planet, at least until all the rich people band together to live on Elon Musk Space Mars.
Plus, as Bloomberg reported back in September, Amazon’s carbon footprint is, uh, pretty big— at 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, it’s bigger than carbon footprints belonging to UPS, FedEx, Apple, Google, and Target (individually), if not quite as big as Walmart’s. Bezos said last year that Amazon planned to be carbon-neutral by 2040, but by then, scientists say the planet will be well past the climate disaster point of no return.
All of this is to say, that while the $10 billion pledge is preferable to ignoring the climate crisis, it’s easy to cheer on rich people for treating the environment like something they can throw their small change at, even though they actively earned that small change through environmentally destructive means, or, I don’t know, by taking corporate tax breaks that drain legislative budgets that might otherwise be used to fund expansive climate change-fighting programs. You get the picture. Bezos probably doesn’t.