The US billionaire, one of the world’s richest men, pledged to issue grants to “scientists, activists, NGOs” starting in the summer.
“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,” he told his 1.5mln Instagram followers.
Environmentalists, though, pointed the finger at Bezos’s own deeds, as his one-trillion creation Amazon has long been criticised as a massive polluter.
“We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” said Amazon Employees For Climate Justice.
The activist group said the e-commerce giant powers its warehouses with diesel while it funds climate-delaying policy and climate-denying think tanks, such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Jeff Bezos's gains this year have already covered the cost of his climate pledge https://t.co/yrfAxT8BmX— Bloomberg (@business) February 19, 2020
Environmental lobby Greenpeace stated Amazon released 44.4mln tonnes of CO2 in 2018, against Google’s 1.5mln tonnes, while they both provide artificial intelligence technologies to help oil and gas exploration.
Non-profit organisation 350.org joined in the discussion by highlighting how a US$10bn tax payment could fully fund the Green New Deal, a proposed policy package to address US climate change and economic inequality.
“The Bezos Earth Fund certainly comes as a surprise to us from a CEO who has ignored efforts to reel in his own corporations’ climate damages, and who has consistently pandered to fossil fuel interests,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, director at 350.org.
In pre-market trading, shares in Amazon were changing hands at US$2,165.