Bezos Opens $10 Billion Earth Fund With Climate Grants

Latest News 2020-11-17

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, is giving nearly $800 million to 16 environmental groups in the first donations from his $10 billion Earth Fund. In February, Bezos announced the creation of his personal $10 billion Earth Fund, designed to support what Bezos has called “needle-moving solutions” to the climate crisis.

 

The complete list of grantees is: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Eden Reforestation Projects, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective, Rocky Mountain Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.

 

The 16 recipients include five large, well-known environmental groups that will each receive a grant of $100 million from the Bezos Earth Fund – the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund.

 

Grantees Focus on Nature’s Own Solutions

The Environmental Defense Fund, EDF, will use its $100 million grant “to build confidence in nature-based climate solutions that harness the power of forests, agricultural soils and oceans to capture and store carbon by using peer-reviewed science to ensure the integrity of carbon credits. So the rainforests of the world are worth more alive than dead,” the group said in a statement.

 

The Bezos Earth Fund gift will allow EDF to complete MethaneSAT, a satellite that will locate and measure sources of methane pollution around the world, and launch it in 2022.

MethaneSAT will provide regular monitoring of regions accounting for more than 80 percent of global oil and gas production on a weekly basis, with enough detail to identify both location and emission rates with an unprecedented degree of precision.

 

Data analysis will then determine responsibility for those emissions.

EDF expects the MethaneSAT work to cut methane pollution from the global oil and gas industry 45 percent by 2025, “delivering the same 20-year benefit as closing a third of the world’s coal plants,” the group said. This will put the industry on the path of a 75 percent reduction before 2030. It’s the fastest, most cost-effective thing we can do to slow the rate of warming right now even as we continue to decarbonize the energy system.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council will use its $100 million grant from the Earth Fund to help NRDC “advance climate solutions and legislation at the state level, move the needle on policies and programs focused on reducing oil and gas production, protect and restore ecosystems that store carbon, like forests and wetlands, and accelerate sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices.”

The Nature Conservancy will use its $100 million Bezos Earth Fund grant to protect the Emerald Edge forest in the United States and Canada. In partnership with Indigenous and tribal communities whose culture and livelihoods are intertwined with the landscape, the Nature Conservancy will work to increase the forest’s ability to store carbon and mitigate emissions that damage the planet.

The Emerald Edge, which extends from Washington state to southeast Alaska, is the largest, intact temperate rainforest on Earth.

 

The Nature Conservancy’s Washington state director Mike Stevens said this region is critical for storing carbon – a natural solution to climate change. “Up to a third of the emissions reductions and sequestration that we need to do can be done through nature,” he said.

Advancing natural solutions is also a priority for the World Resources Institute, which will receive $100 million over five years, enabling the institute to work with partners to scale its work and impact globally.

WRI says the organization will use this grant to develop a satellite-based monitoring system to advance “natural climate solutions” around the world. The system will monitor carbon emissions and capture potentially harmful changes to the world’s forests, grasslands, wetlands, farms, and other critical areas.

The WRI grant will also be used to spur the electrification of U.S. school buses by 2030 – over 450,000 vehicles – bringing cleaner air and fewer carbon emissions to communities across the country.

 

The power of nature to heal the climate is also central to the plans the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is making to utilize its $100 million Earth Fund grant. WWF will use the money to “accelerate the most promising solutions that harness the power of nature to provide for communities and stabilize our climate,” the group said in a statement.

This grant will help WWF protect and restore mangroves, which store carbon and protect coastal communities from the ravages of climate-accelerated weather events. It also will enable WWF to develop new markets for seaweed as an alternative to fossil fuel-based products and to protect forests and other ecosystems from destruction in some of the most important landscapes in the world.

 

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