Jeff Bezos Can Control Earth’s Future With His $10 Billion Pledge – WIRED

Jeff Bezos Can Control Earth’s Future With His $10 Billion Pledge – WIRED

Jeff Bezos
Philanthropy in itself, of course, isn’t a bad thing, and Bezos should be applauded for contributing to one of the most important causes in the world. Yet the power that billionaire philanthropists can wield—not to mention the income inequality surrounding it—has faced significant backlash, as noted in a recent WIRED profile of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who has made hundreds of millions in donations. Benioff’s entire fortune isn’t even worth what Bezos pledged “to start” to his Earth Fund. That one man with one check can reshape the fight against climate change for years, if not decades, by signing away not even a tenth of his personal fortune is terrifying.It means he gets to decide what issues and projects may be prioritized over others.
For example, it’s not clear if Bezos will be willing to fight the fossil fuel industry directly, which Amazon counts as an important customer. When Bezos announced an ambitious new plan for his company to reduce its carbon footprint in September, the CEO said Amazon’s cloud computing division would nonetheless continue working with oil and gas providers.“Anyone who’s serious about taking on climate change has to be serious about taking on the fossil fuel industry, because ....


For the Amazon CEO to directly oppose his counterparts in another industry, McKibben adds, “That would require a kind of class betrayal on Bezos’ part—it will be interesting to see if he’s capable of it.”Is there something you think we should know about the Bezos Earth Fund? Email the writer at [email protected] Signal: 347-966-3806. WIRED protects the confidentiality of its sources, but if you wish to conceal your identity, here are the instructions for using SecureDrop.
You can also mail us materials at 520 Third Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, CA 94107.Nearly every researcher WIRED spoke to emphasized they wanted Bezos to take a hands-off approach, refraining from letting his ego dictate where the money goes, as plenty of rich men have in the past. Some worried that Bezos, a billionaire enthralled by space travel, might focus on flashy futuristic innovations rather than what can be done quickly to stall the planet from getting hotter.“Will Bezos truly be wise and humble and put this money in the hands of people who have really been thinking about this a long time or not? I don’t know, ” says Jonathan Foley, an environmental scientist and the executive director of Project Drawdown, which ....

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