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Jeff Bezos announces first winners of $10 billion climate-change pledge

Bezos to fund fight against climate change
Bezos to fund fight against climate change 00:23

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who earlier this year pledged to donate $10 billion of his own money to help fight climate change, on Monday announced initial grants totaling $791 million for 16 different environmental groups.

The recipients includes a number of prominent groups that deal with global warming, including ClimateWorks Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund.

"I've spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who've made it their life's work to fight climate change and its impact on communities around the world. I'm inspired by what they're doing, and excited to help them scale," Bezos said in a post on Instagram.

Some of the funds will be used for specific projects. The Environmental Defense Fund, which received $100 million, said it would use the money to launch a satellite that measures emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with roughly 30 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said it would use its $15 million grant to advocate for updates to the U.S. electrical grid and electrify commercial trucking, a major source of emissions.

Bezos, the world's wealthiest man, pledged earlier this year to give away $10 billion to help fund the fight against climate change, which he has called "an existential threat." That represents about 5% of his total net worth, as calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Amazon has separately pledged to donate $2 billion to climate causes. Its first round of grants funded startups working on new technology to decarbonize the economy.

The company and its founder have garnered plenty of criticism from environmentalists, who point out that Amazon's own carbon emissions have increased, and that the company has tried to silence and even fired employees who have spoken out about the issue.

Still, $10 billion is a substantial amount of money. Last year, only 2% of all philanthropic dollars — between $5 and $9 billion — went toward mitigating human-caused climate change, according to the ClimateWorks Foundation.

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