Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and richest person on the planet, recently announced in an Instagram post that he is planning on donating $10 billion to combat climate change. “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” Bezos said in his post.
While it is true that climate change poses a real threat to human existence, highlighted by the fact that the current extinction rate is hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years, throwing money at the problem is not a real solution. Especially when your company, online retail giant Amazon, emits greenhouse gases at a rate rivaling that of small nations. Even more, Amazon has sponsored climate-denial think tanks, sells services that help oil and gas companies locate new fossil fuel deposits, and is the largest shipper of plastic waste.
Bezos’s $10 billion to fight climate change is a mockery, considering the huge contribution his own company has had in fueling the climate crisis. This is a PR ploy to give Amazon a greener image, taking advantage of an increasing public consciousness of the threat of climate change. After all, spending less than 9 percent of your $116 billion-dollar fortune is a small price to pay to convince the public that you are part of the solution, instead of the problem. Furthermore, Bezos’s funneling of this money through his own “Earth Fund,” means he is not about to fund research or solutions that would impact Amazon’s profitability.
But even if Bezos did switch all Amazon delivery vehicles to electric power, convert all warehouses to renewable energy, and donate another $10 billion to climate change research, we would still be leaps behind the transformation necessary for combating climate change in any meaningful way. Amazon and every other corporation require constant expansion to remain competitive and maintain their existence. This means a constant increase of products sold and waste created. We live on a planet with finite resources, so never-ending expansion inevitably spells planetary destruction. Under capitalism, this ever increasing expansion cannot stop – or else the whole system of capitalism would fall – and Bezos is not about to fund his own demise.