Jeff Bezos: billionaire versus climate change

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man with a fortune of 130 billion dollars, has announced plans to invest 10 billion dollars in climate protection and "saving the planet" with his newly founded Bezos Earth Fund. The first funds are to be made available as early as this summer, Bezos said on Instagram. Media in Europe are largely sceptical about the plans.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

One step forward and two steps back

Gazeta Wyborcza suspects that Bezos won't go further than his declaration of intent:

“This is not Bezos' first pro-ecological declaration. Last September he promised that his company would use 100 percent renewables by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2040 (i.e., not emit more harmful gases than the environment can absorb). Amazon's vehicle fleet is also to be expanded by 100,000 electric cars. ... Environmentalists have pointed out that these grandiloquent declarations have not been followed up by concrete action. In their opinion Amazon is taking one step forward and then two steps back with decisions like supporting corporations such as BP and Shell.”

Il Manifesto (IT) /

Dubious philanthropy

Il Manifesto is sceptical about the donation:

“On the one hand the whole thing whiffs of 'greenwashing'. This practice has become so established that the major investment funds such as Blackrock and all the pertinent investors are betting on the transition to 'green' capitalism. ... And millions of employees and savers along with them. This isn't just a marketing strategy but the transfer of huge sums of capital from the fossil fuel industry to the alternative energy industry. ... On the other hand, the philanthropy of the Silicon Valley billionaires is a mystery. All the wealthy, from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, are devoting themselves to this practice, also for tax reasons. ... It may be laudable that a billionaire feels obliged to 'give something up'. But if he feels that need it may be because he's taken too much.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Increase salaries and pay taxes instead

The Amazon boss is setting the wrong priorities, warns The Guardian:

“This is the paradox at the heart of philanthropy. It is a fine thing to give. But how did you make your money? The dreadful concept of 'giving something back' exposes the truth: if you feel the need to give something back perhaps it means you took too much in the first place. ... Bezos could also see to it that Amazon pays and treats its staff better, and expends less energy being 'tax efficient', paying its dues to state coffers around the world, in all those countries where the company is making so much money.”

Der Bund (CH) /

A little gratitude would be appropriate

Amazon isn't to blame for the mistakes politicians have made, Der Bund puts in:

“American policy - but by no means only American policy - has so far failed to respond adequately to climate change. There is still a lack of incentives that would make climate-neutral business worthwhile for Amazon and for all other companies, too. But that's not Jeff Bezos's fault, these are political failures. With his donation Bezos is not only making a material contribution to mobilising science, technology and industry in the service of climate protection. He's expressing much more: no one should not care about the future, we can all take action, it's not too late. And that message deserves a little more gratitude - even to a multi-billionaire.”