Feb 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Jeff Bezos to spend $10 billion on climate change research, advocacy

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.

  • "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," Bezos' Instagram post reads.
  • He says he'll start issuing grants this summer.

Details: That $10 billion comes from Bezos' personal money and none of the funds will be used in for-profit enterprises, investing in private companies or startups, a person familiar with the fund told Axios.

This big picture, per Axios' Ben Geman: The new fund is the latest example of tech companies or their billionaire founders devoting more resources to climate change. 

  • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has worked on climate for years through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and via Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund Bezos also invests in that stakes clean energy startups.
  • And last month when Microsoft rolled out its pledge to become “carbon negative” by 2030, it announced a new fund to invest $1 billion over four years to accelerate development and use of carbon reduction and removal technologies.

Go deeper: Amazon and Big Tech can't escape climate pressure

Go deeper

Jeff Bezos writes a short climate mystery

Bezos announces the co-founding of an earlier initiative, The Climate Pledge, in September. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Amazon

The most striking thing about Jeff Bezos' new climate philanthropy is the size. A close second is the information void about what it will actually do.

Catch up fast: The Amazon founder on Monday announced a $10 billion fund to help scientists, nonprofits and activists — and then dropped the mic.

Hardly anyone talks about climate change

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Politicians, corporations, the media and activists are talking about climate change more than ever — but most Americans are not.

Be smart: If you’re reading this on social media, you’re probably the exception, not the rule. Just 9% of Americans talk about climate change often, surveys by Yale and George Mason University indicate.

Al Gore launches voter drive to make climate fight an election priority

Former Vice President Al Gore during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Al Gore launched Tuesday a national voter registration campaign with the Climate Reality Action Fund to recruit younger voters to help make the fight against climate change a key issue of the 2020 election and beyond.

The big picture: President Trump has rolled back several Obama-era policies and regulations, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement — although he announced last month a commitment to plant 1 trillion trees. Gore said in a statement, "We are at a political tipping point, thanks in large part to Greta Thunberg and millions of other young people speaking truth to power." He's confident young people will be a "driving force for climate action this November."

Go deeper: Al Gore: The unintended consequence of Trump's climate change denial