Jeff Bezos launched the Bezos Earth Fund with an Instagram announcement.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. 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. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.
I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
56 thoughts on “$10 Billion Jeff Bezos Earth Fund Will Fight Climate Change”
Amazon talks a lot about e-delivery trucks and reducing packaging. Fine, but there is nothing I can find to suggest that the Bezos Climate Pledge Fund's Rodrigo Prudencio has made any effort to understand the importance of nuclear energy. As this blog has highlighted for years, that is the only lever big enough to lift us into a no compromises prosperous and verdant future.
There are no money bins.
I have respect for your opinion on anything nuclear. Would you mind explaining to me why fission nuclear is useless in space, I was not aware of why or that it would be. I would have thought it would be essential especially for deep space where solar panels will not be as useful because of the sun’s distance. Is it because of heat dissipation?
this definition, I feel has much more robust meaning.
We’ve already developed technologies that can easily replace fossils fuels for electric power production: nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, etc. The production of renewable methanol (eMethanol) could totally replace natural gas in existing natural gas power plants cheaply retrofitted to use methanol.
And we’ve already developed technologies that can produce renewable fuels for transportation and industrial chemicals. eMethanol could be used to power automobiles, ships, and fuel cell powered automobiles, ships, and propeller planes. eMethanol can also be converted into dimethy ether (a much cleaner diesel fuel substitute). Methanol can also be converted into renewable gasoline and various types of jet fuel.
So all we have to do is to require the energy companies to gradually transition from a fossil fuel economy to a carbon neutral economy over the course of 20 to 30 years.
If CO₂ emissions isn’t reduced by 45%, which of these do you expect to happen by Jan 1st 2030?
1):The temperature will be 1.5°C warmer, coral reefs would have declined by 70-90 percent and Arctic Ocean free of sea ice is occurring every century.
2):The temperature will be 2.0°C warmer, coral reefs would have declined by 99% and Arctic Ocean free of sea ice is occurring every decade.
We can afford nukes too.
France and Sweden have both proven that.
Hint: If nobody understands what you mean, perhaps you aren’t being clear.
But no, insult them instead, that’ll clear things up.
A man made fusion plant can’t do anything. They just don’t work.
Even if they DID work, the need to dump GW of heat into the insulating vacuum of space means you’re better off putting it next to a nice, cool, Earth ocean.
What do you mean by “skin in the game”?
It’s usually said to mean something like “be at risk” but that doesn’t help anyone in this case. You seem to mean “actually affect the way you do business”, which is quite a new meaning for the phrase.
Mosquito nets result in thousands, 10s of thousands, maybe even millions of children growing up without being crippled by disease or dying.
Yes, it doesn’t help us here in the civilised world, but I can’t look at that and say it is ineffective or useless.
Almost eradicate polio. Almost. Still not quite there yet.
Though this is one of those cases, like hand grenades, where close really does count for a lot.
Exactly. Even that graph shows about 0.5 deg from 1989-2019
Far less than the most conservative scientific estimate of 1 to 7 degrees.
So we should take the lower bound of the most conservative numbers, and assume they at least twice reality.
To be honest, entire nations HAVE been wiped of the face of the Earth since 1989. But I don’t think we can blame any of them on Global Warming.
Though I sure some Soviet Union fans will try.
Iron is not the way.
There are entire mountain ranges on Earth that are near pure iron oxide. The cost is the physical effort of moving the rocks to a blast furnace, and the fuel required to process it. That’s going to be cheaper than space rocks for a long, long time.
Well, except for iron that you are going to use in space. The cost of getting it from Earth to a space location means you might be worth while sourcing it up there, especially if you want to use thousands of tonnes of the stuff.
Nickel is a little bit more promising. People talk about platinum group metals, but I’ve not seen anyone actually locating such an asteroid. Asteroids probably haven’t had the molten-or-dissolved-state-combined-with-gravity required to separate out any really interesting elements.
I think Dan is right that the biggest commodity we can point to right now, within a few decades of current tech, is probably beamed back solar energy.
But the fact is that we just haven’t looked. For all we know there are monomolecular carbon nanotube filaments floating in the rings of Saturn or something that would sell for $10k/kg in thousand tonne lots. Or longevity spice growing under the ice of Io. Or room temp superconductors literally floating on the magnetic fields of Jupiter. Or something.
10 Billion solves a lot of problems. Any ideas where the money will go? Isn’t Bezos funding General Fusion? How about he dump a cool $1 Billion into that project?
Here’s how I’d spend the money:
1) $2 billion for Fusion
2) $2 billion for MSR
3) $2 billion for planting 1 trillion trees
4) $1 billion for solar research
5) $1 billion for wind
6) $1 billion for battery tech
7) $1 bill fringe tech
It would be great if he could partner with other entrepreneurs like Musk and Gates.
One is there!
Space Solar is fusion, collected with solar panels. Hard to imagine cheaper or easier, if you are in the sunlight in Space.
Climate change is real, it always has been since the molten planet cooled and got itself an atmosphere and oceans. Why do people love the idea of apocalypse in our time? An inflated sense of self-importance possibly.
According to climate change theory it is the carbon produced and added to the atmosphere, primarily through energy production and extraction, that is driving climate change. The only way to change that is to get off of fossil fuels, which IMHO means safe inexpensive nuclear preferably fusion. Anything else is peeing up a rope. Wind and solar are not cost competitive when you add storage, and I don’t see that changing soon.
“any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” Totally different issue here. The biggest threat to the natural world is habitat loss and pollution, not climate change. This will take policy changes implemented by governments with a focused effort in planning regulations to accommodate wildlife in our growing human population. In our acrimoniously divided political system here in the US we cannot even get things done that both sides agree on, so good luck with that.
Considering they predicted by the year 2000, I would say time told us twenty years ago.
Er, uh.. I meant Amazon.
If used so, absolutely. If hoarded, not in the slightest.
Maybe wealth isn’t pointless. Maybe you can use it do do useful things. Maybe he became wealthy by doing extremely useful things. Maybe the world needs more wealth so that we can afford to do other extremely useful things. Maybe money isn’t pointless or evil but is actually the means to many good ends?
How are we to interpret Bezos spending $10 billion not on General Fusion as anything other than an admission that General Fusion isn’t going to succeed?
General Fusion is a carbon-free-save-the-planet project and Bezos is already an investor. Were they going to be successful then Bezos could invest just $1 billion in them to make a production power plant that would decarbonize power.
lol, run a mission critical 24/7 100% uptime system on solar/wind. Nuclear? Sure thing, let’s see Bezos build nuclear power systems…..oops, there goes his margins.
He won’t be a hypocrite if he does what he preaches. Get back to me when he does, and then I will humbly retract my opinion of him.
So if Bezzos wants to fund nuclear, or solar, or whatever, to provide those 2% of electricity, he is an hypocrite? Your logic is quite faulty.
I semi-agree. Climate change is only one aspect of the grave threat humanity faces because of our collective disregard of the effects that uncontrolled economic development has on the planet. Destruction and changes of the ecosystems that we are dependent upon to survive and live well are occurring now and rapidly increasing in scope.
I DO NOT recommend that we stop development and return to some imagined ‘bucolic harmony with nature’ but we DO need to increase funding for research that can give us an understanding on the best ways to manage future development, prioritizing the maintenance of the environment, both for ourselves and the creatures we share this planet with.
We must become much better than we have been as Stewards of the Earth. It can even be a very profitable direction to go if corporations look to invest in those technologies that help control environmental impact, instead of looking to the government to drop all the regulations that had tried to steer them in that direction previously.
If Bezos wants to invest in an entity that addresses even a small part of the problem – I applaud his effort, even if motivated just as an attempt to get the environmentalists off his back. It’s a step in the right direction anyway.
Better Bezzos and other technology savvy people doing it than LUDDISTS like Greta.
ONE WAY OR THE OTHER we should be learning how to terraform and control our climate.
We should be learning to control and offset our massive throwing of greenhouse gases at the atmosphere, just as we should be learning to control the cooling effects of massive volcanic eruptions.
Why people love oil and coal so much they fight off any notions of climate change?
It has become just another stupid ideological debate FROM BOTH EXTREMES, instead of a rational scientific discussion.
Also, scientifically, from data, there is climate change. And why should anyone get surprised humans have the power to alter the environment?
What we do, how do classify the consequences and HOW we fight climate change is an ideological debate.
Pluto and Ceres are there. They are what they are and we have data about it. How we create divisions to classify astronomical bodies uses science but it’s not science per se.
They’re going to do what old men do best, die and be forgotten.
How dare he do something to offset his personal damage. How dare he.
To be fair, Gates did eradicate polio. That’s not virtue signalling, that’s just doing something worthwhile with the pointless accumilation of wealth.
Isn’t obvious he’s talking about the great wall that keeps the night king from Westeros?
Part of what Amazon will spend that $10b fund on is 100,000 Rivian electric trucks: https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/19/20873834/amazon-sustainability-jeff-bezos-climate-change-pledge-emissions-paris-accord
This is good, but it seems to me that if it is a charity spending the money on this that it is tax deductible, meaning Amazon will immediately save millions, and even be able to sell cap and trade offsets to other companies this way (the last part is speculation on my part). Amazon (in)famously has not paid taxes for years. Bezos does not miss a trick.
What a hypocrite! Bezos spends $140m on a huge mansion in Beverly Hills, he has quite a few other homes and toys. Then he’s got AWS which consumes just over 2% of all the electricity produced in the U.S. And you can guess what fuel generates this power.
Until Bezos has skin in the game both for himself and his business empire, he is just a charlatan. A hugely visible one at that. Why should anyone make an effort to personally reduce carbon footprint when these kind of people say one thing and do something else?
I think I’ll just let my truck idle for the rest of the day in protest.
Yes! That’s the Isaac Arthur preferred climate change solution. Personally I’m with Dr James Hansen in wanting 115 GW of nuclear reactors built per year, BUT building a lunar city to also build space based solar can do so much more as well.
A good lunar city could launch PowerSats via maglev railgun into orbit around the Earth to power the world, create more ‘eyes on’ space to detect asteroids, solve climate change, redirect light to save us from darkness disasters like a supervolcano induced ‘nuclear winter’, and so much more. I’ve keyed this to the correct time.
New Money vs. Old Money. Not really fair, the huge multi-national conglomerates have had 100 years to infiltrate international politics.
But Musk has the best chance IMO, assuming that space can be monetized in the time frame required for StarLink to provide capital.
I have serious doubts that this is possible. I admit that I lack the vision. I just cannot see that path forward for a self-sustaining economic development plan. Tourism will be available only to the very rich; ROI for orbital EV is marginal, at best; I cannot imagine any commodity worth the scale of investment required to harvest space rocks.
If we are very lucky, we may find a metallic asteroid in near-earth orbit. But even so- purity would need to be amazingly high, and we would have to have better (nuclear) power generation and propulsion to process it in situ. Do we want to process ores in an Earth facility? Compare the price of iron to the cost of just moving the stuff.
I think we’re still looking at 50-100 years for markets to start breaking out.
It is not for you, this is written for people who are interested in a serious exchange of ideas not in mocking in their free time.
It is time for Exxon, Shell, and Aramco to fight back against Musk, Bezos, and Gates.
Foolishly they gave the dates for when the effects would kick in. By 2019
The trend wasn’t reversed, time will tell if he was correct.
Meanwhile, in 1989
I assume you don’t mean that.
That seems such a bad idea.
Ebay is currently working with literally millions of tiny little individual, two person, three person companies that operate in their marketplace.
Now they suddenly need a full audit to get a green certificate? Suddenly every company with less than $10 million/year turnover can’t afford to get certified.
Big business laughs as all their competition gets destroyed.
LOL. Feeding the alligator.
This will not stop zealots trying to stop his space company.
Would have been better to ignore them. Now they smell blood.
Besides, they don’t want money. They want universal compliance to their ideological dogma.
If you listen to his blue moon talk he definitely believes in “growth and dynamism” so I’m optimistic.
Space Solar, particularly Lunar Solar Power, is the only solution to climate change we can afford. We cannot afford to stay on the Earth completely, or much at all, for long. Space Solar gets this problem worked on, and is the clear thing to do IF we are going to Space anyway, which me must for multiple independent reasons. A win-win!
As we move into Space, these will be the ones actually doing the business. Particularly energy companies jumping on Space Solar, finally having seen the opportunity ripen.
“researchers providing sound bites about how we have return to a pre-industrial society or everyone will die in a rolling ten year time frame?” That is an outlook I have dubbed *small world* for many years. The fragile, small Earth is NOT the World. The World is everyplace you can go. That includes Space, which G. K. O’Neill has identified as *the Place*, along with Sun Ra.
How best to move the climate change discussion out of the public forum and into the hands of those who can actually make changes to industry, and who best to fight climate change than the corporations that are driving mass consumerism on the planet.
Ebay could lead the way and come up with a sustainable metric and publish a statement saying that they will only do business with Climate friendly companies.
Other sector controlling entities like public pensions and hedge funds could follow suit and shape industries where they hold voting shares to likewise implement policies and controls to reduce impacts.
Those displaced by the private sector leading the climate debate can be re-trained and employed cleaning up all the confetti from all the heads that exploded as a result of their previous line of work.
Bezos is not known for giving back to society. Yet such a fund is a very good idea. There are many brilliant ideas for preventing climate change (why fight?) Now let’s see, how far he is willing to go. We are facing the the prospects of rising sea levels due to melting of the poles. This will probably be the first and foremost effect of climate change, even if we stop emitting all greenhouse gases tomorrow. We will probably need to build some sort of an Antarctic wall not in the very far future, yet this is hardly on our radar screen. Let’s see if Bezo’s fund tackles that.
Nice sentiment, lets see who gets the grants. Will it be people with serious ideas about climate engineering or researchers providing sound bites about how we have return to a pre-industrial society or everyone will die in a rolling ten year time frame?
The Earth has many serious threats, but fear of the climate holocaust is not in the top 20. In the same fashion as Bill Gates, Mr. Bezos flaunts his wealth in a virtue signalling way.
Given he knows about O’Neill, one can predict a strong interest in Space Solar will be nourished.
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