Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Jeff Bezos. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos’ $100 million grant to the Environmental Defense Fund is tied as the biggest donation the group has ever received in its more than 50-year history, its president Fred Krupp told Axios Tuesday.

Driving the news: The Bezos Earth Fund, the $10 billion fund Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos unveiled early this year, officially revealed its first recipients this week. They will receive a total of nearly $800 million.

The intrigue: Krupp said Bezos’ office called EDF earlier this fall inquiring about donating. “A few days later, I found myself on the phone with him and he said he didn’t know much about climate change,” Krupp said. 

  • ”And then every question he asked, every comment he made, indicated he had clearly been studying a lot about climate change and he was very knowledgeable.”

By the numbers: The grant will be spent over three years, which means the donation amounts to about 16% of its total annual operating expenses.

  • The only other donation that matches this $100 million size is one by the now-deceased investor Robert Wilson, who gave away millions to conservation-minded groups.
  • Overall, climate-change causes receive just 2% of philanthropic money, according to a recent report by the ClimateWorks Foundation (which was another recipient of Bezos’ money).

How it works: EDF will use the money on two specific areas:

  1. Completing construction and building out the data platform for a satellite tracking emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s also the primary component of natural gas. That data, combined with an advocacy campaign, will “deliver 45% reductions in methane pollution by 2025,” Krupp says.
  2. Establishing a consensus standards system to ensure more transparency in the otherwise rather opaque world of carbon credits and offsets, such as in forests.

What we're watching: To what degree Bezos’ remaining fund money — still an eye-popping $9.2 billion — will go to organizations working explicitly to build support for climate-change action among conservatives.

  • While elected Republicans have mostly been silent or outright dismissive of climate change, a growing number of conservatives and Republicans outside of Congress have begun to support climate action. They privately lament the dearth of donations to this corner of climate advocacy, given the likely essential nature bipartisan support fills in big climate policy.
  • Krupp said three out of the five groups that got the largest groups — including EDF, The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute — focus on work that’s bipartisan in nature.
  • A fund spokeswoman didn't have more details to share about future grants.

Go deeper: Bezos’ Instagram post announcement

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden's expanding climate orbit

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images     

News emerged Sunday night that President-elect Joe Biden plans to tap Brian Deese to direct the National Economic Council inside the White House.

Catch up fast: He was a senior climate aide late in the Obama era, helping to craft the Paris climate deal, and held senior roles at White House Office of Management and Budget and the NEC.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.