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Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund commits another $443 mn to boost conservation

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San Francisco, Dec 7 (IANS) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has pledged $443 million in grant as part of his Earth Fund to fight climate change, protect and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.

Bezos launched Earth Fund in 2020 to execute his $10 billion — about 5 per cent of his current net worth — commitment to fight climate change.

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The Fund awarded 44 grants totaling $443 million to organisations focused on climate justice, nature conservation and restoration, and tracking critical climate goals, it said in a statement.

It sets aside $130 million for 19 different organisations doing “doing critical climate justice work”, and follows another $150 million pledged to climate justice groups in September.

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The grants include $130 million to advance the Justice40 initiative in the US, $261 million to further the 30×30 initiative to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030, with a focus on the Congo Basin and Tropical Andes, and $51 million to support land restoration in the US and Africa, the statement added.

“The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who are seizing the challenges that this decisive decade presents,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and the protection of nature, two areas that demand stronger action.”

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This year, the Fund has pledged more than $3 billion for similar initiatives, the Verge reported.

Bezos’ grantees include a wide range of groups that either gather data to inform policymaking, help underserved communities become more resilient to climate change, support tribes and Native communities, or plan to create training programmes for the Justice40 initiative.

Meanwhile, Amazon was implicated in a recent report as playing an “outsized” role in port congestion and associated shipping pollution along the west coast of the US. And despite Amazon’s commitments to address climate change, the company’s carbon footprint grew by nearly 20 per cent in 2020, the report said.

Bezos’ Earth Fund has also faced criticism, particularly from some grassroots environmental groups. Critics pointed out that Bezos primarily funded big-name environmental groups with historically white leadership and comparatively large budgets rather than supporting more Indigenous and people of colour-led community groups. Other criticisms focused on how Amazon, the e-commerce giant Bezos founded, continues to pollute neighbourhoods and emit increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

–IANS

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