Issues & Insights

Jeff Bezos Delivers $10 Billion Windfall To Climate Alarmists

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When it comes to virtue signaling, it will be tough to top Jeff Bezos, who has pledged to put $10 billion – nearly 8% – of his net worth to help “save Earth.” He’d be better off investing that money in his own company, which has probably done more to reduce CO2 emissions than the do-gooders lining up for his handouts ever will.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”

Bezos says he’ll start issuing grants this summer, but hasn’t indicated how fast that money will get doled out.

We don’t have anything against private charity. It’s the backbone of this nation. And Bezos is free to spend his wealth however he wants.

But he’s missing an opportunity to educate the public about how the free market – and his own company – are doing far more to “save Earth” than he will giving his money away to embolden “collective action.”

Amazon’s success reduced CO2 emissions simply because it proved to be a more efficient way to deliver goods.

Environmentalists complain about how much carbon Amazon emits – pointing to the company’s report that it emitted 44.4 million metric tons of CO2 in 2018.

What they don’t say is that this is a large net reduction from what would have happened if Amazon shoppers had to drive around to retail outlets to get what they wanted.

Research carried out at MIT found that online shopping “is the most environmentally friendly option in a wide range of scenarios.”

In fact, the study found that the carbon footprint of online shoppers “is almost two times smaller than a traditional shopper.”

An earlier Carnegie Melon study found that “e-commerce delivery uses less primary energy and produces less CO2 emissions than traditional retailing. … Overall, e-commerce had about 30% lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions compared to traditional retail.”

Why? Because online shoppers don’t get in their cars and sit in traffic to go shopping. They don’t make needless trips to find the store’s sold out of the item they wanted. What’s more, retail outlets require a lot of energy – more per item sold than a big central warehouse.

Now multiply Amazon thousands-fold.

Companies such as UPS made significant cuts in their CO2 emissions because they wanted to cut their fuel costs, not save the Earth. So they developed a program that charted the most efficient paths for the delivery trucks, which means that they almost never make left turns.

The rise of fracking – which let oil and gas companies access vast quantities of previously drillable fossil fuels – caused natural gas prices to plummet, which in turn spurred a multitude of power plants to switch from coal to natural gas. The industry didn’t set out to cut CO2 emissions, but private-sector innovation produced it anyway.

It’s because of the private sector’s relentless push for greater efficiency that overall CO2 emissions in the U.S. dropped 14% from 2005 to 2017, according to the EPA – despite the fact that the U.S. economy grew by 21% (after adjusting for inflation) and the U.S. population climbed by 29 million.

It’s the environmental equivalent of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. By simply striving to make more money through efficiency gains, private companies produce more with less. Since 1990, carbon emissions per dollar of GDP in the U.S. have plunged by more than 62%.

This, mind you, was without any “collective action,” without government-mandated reductions, without carbon taxes, and without activists and NGOs getting a cut of Bezos’ billions.

The problem with Bezos’ $10 billion pledge is that he completely ignores all of this, and treats the private sector as something to be reined in by “global organizations.”

This is to say nothing, of course, of the fact that Bezos is also giving climate alarmists still more ammunition to make their dubious “end of the world” claims. Or the fact that $10 billion might fund, say, a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s, or feed millions of starving people, or … well, you get the idea.

To the extent that his donations empower central planners, environmental activists, and global organizations at the expense of the private sector, Bezos will have done the Earth, and the people on it, more harm than good.

— Written by the I&I Editorial board.


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35 comments

  • The most telling failure of warming theory is the Maldive Islands. They are near sea level in height, and were predicted to be inundated by now. But sea level has not changed there in a long time. If sea level does not increase, then environmentally significant warming is not occurring.
    ———–
    STUDY: Pacific Islands Getting Bigger
    No islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3 percent increase in net island area over the past century.
    https://dailycaller.com/2018/02/09/study-pacific-islands-getting-bigger-despite-rising-seas/
    Sea level is not increasing significantly, and therefore environmentally significant warming is not occurring.

      • The lie is climate alarmism. I used to buy into it, for 25+ years actually. Freaked me out. Then, I forced myself to find out what the climate realists are reporting. The realists are the climatologists, astro-physicists, vulcanologists, geologists, etc. who present their arguments calmly, rationally and with facts. What I learned in sum: yes, the planet is warming (it always has), it is unclear what the impact of fossil fuel CO2 emissions are having, but that the climate is an extremely dynamic, non-linear intertwining of systems which climate models have not been able to accurately predict what will be further out than a year. There is far more I have learned, but not enough space here to go further into it; that’s your job now. Even the IPCC has agreed that climate models are unreliable to predict the future of the climate. To panic and say that we are all doomed within ten years is alarmism, and is misleading to say the least. I encourage everyone who is so convinced that AGW is an imminent threat to do their homework, read and listen to those who are experts that counter the panic narrative. You will be very enlightened. They are not fossil-fuel industry people. The only alarm to truly have is the massive wool being pulled over the public’s eyes. There is no climate emergency. Read this letter from 500+ scientists sent last fall (2019) to the UN. https://clintel.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ecd-letter-to-un.pdf

      • I think too many of the folk here need an education in science.

        Who will debate it with me?
        Not second-hand comments from political sources, the SCIENCE!

      • You make yourself sound like an ignorant person with this comments. First of all, why don’t you get the study that was done by the University of Auckland on the Maldives Islands, the study that is cited in the linked articular. If you believe this is poor science, then you go and replicate the study and publish your results. But you won’t do this because you are not a scientist. You’re nothing more than an ignorant clown, who only wants to do nothing more than place hit comments, without a shred of evidence, like the one you left here.

      • You’d be more pursuasive by showing how the point you responded to you is wrong vs. what all alarmists do … condem either the people or sources. This approach further convinces me you’re the one buying junk science. When you people act like knowledgable adults vs. just claiming the “science is settled” you might be able to pursuade more voters.

    • Your source literally says that sea-levels are rising:“The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century.” It says islands are expanding despite “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise” due to “coral debris, land reclamation and sediment”.

      Your source completely contradicts your assertion that “sea level has not changed there in a long time”. Because sea levels are increasing (according to your own source) we can take the revers of your statement that “If sea level does not increase, then environmentally significant warming is not occurring” to be true, suggesting that significant global warming is occurring. This is all according to your data. Will you reconsider your position?

    • Your own source is literally titled “STUDY: Pacific Islands Getting Bigger, Despite Rising Seas”, and says that the islands are getting bigger despite “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise”. It says that islands are growing due to “coral debris, land reclamation and sediment”.

      Since your own source says that seas are rising we can take the reverse of your statement “If sea level does not increase, then environmentally significant warming is not occurring” and say that since sea levels are increasing then environmentally significant warming may be occurring. Will you reconsider your position in light of these facts?

    • Another non-alarming position taken up by Maldives. They are currently building five new large runways to increase tourism. Seems they are not as concerned about their island being inundated by the seas as some alarmists have suggested.

    • “Kench found that despite “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years] … no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3 percent increase in net island area over the past century.”

      Do any of the “readers” here read the articles?

      Please, folk do yourselves favors and stop getting your science from political sources. If you want dependable sources for laymen and those with good educations but not in the field, look into sciencenews.org and phys.org

  • Of course Bezos doesn’t believe this, but he, and others in his lofty position of extreme wealth (everyone of them a “Globalist”) recognizes the benefit of these useful fools in reaching his goals. Bezos, Bloomberg, and their compatriots in the lofty world of multi-billionaires see themselves as smarter than the rest of us and consequently form an Oligarchy with it’s goal of ruling the world politically, militarily, as well as financially! This is not pie in the sky! We are watching it happen! Bloomberg is only the first as he attempts to BUY an election.

  • “When it comes to virtue signaling, it will be tough to top Jeff Bezos, who has pledged to put $10 billion – nearly 8% – of his net worth to help “save Earth.”

    That was true over ten thousand years ago when cave dweller Beffjezos donated nearly 8% of his squirrel skins to a group which pledged to ‘Save the Glaciers’ as ‘Global Warming’ was melting them.

      • Many studies show that conservatives contribute more per capita to charities that help the down trodden than do liberals. Also a productive person of any political leaning creates jobs, but they don’t have the time to virtue signal, well except for Mr. Bezos, George Soros and a few others. There are a lot of conservatives in this category as I am sure there are liberals, but leftists not so much.

      • Good works? He isn’t doing good works. He’s making himself feel better. He knows we can’t save the Earth. It isn’t going anywhere. We might disappear someday, but the planet will be just fine.

      • When I put PV panels on my house, it was not “virtue signalling” it was the right thing to do.

        They are on the back side of the house, and you can’t see them.

        What is wrong with folk who try to demonize those who do the right thing?

  • Unfortunately, all Bezos accomplished with the donation is to make alarmism very lucrative.

  • It’s ironic that global warmists are the real climate change deniers. The climate has changed continuously since the earth was formed. The current warming cycle fortunately began after the Little Ice Age, long before humans produced significant CO2. None of the significant predictions of the warmists 30 years ago have proven to be true. Climate change has become a religion, complete with a pseudo-scientific priesthood which issues dire predictions regularly to keep the money flowing. Trying to stop climate change is just a massive waste of resources that could have been spent on improving people’s lives.

    • No, Nick, it is not our religion. I earned a degree in this field and want to debate it with you.

      Do not run away, I want to discuss Ocean Acidification, which is now a treat to marine life worldwide.

      Are you concerned?

      • Texas Jim, acidification means changing to a more acidic pH. It does not mean an acidic pH. It is a process.

        It has caused Dungeness Crabs here on the Left Coast to start losing their shells, which are dissolving.

        It is also affecting the copepods near the bottom of the food chain. If we lose the bottom of the food chain, we lose most of ourselves.

  • He’s worried about buying them off, worried about them trying to destroy his company and his comfortable way of life. Maybe it makes sense. Notice that he ain’t just handing out all the cash at once. Without reading the detail, looks like they gotta beg him over time for various wasteful projects. If they know that if they attack him, he’ll shut off the cash, they’ll go easy on him.

  • This article should be required reading for all Americans. Yes, climate change is an important issue that needs smart policies and evidence-based policy advice. Throwing 10 billion dollars at the current climate gravy train that is the UN and its affiliated NGOs will alas probably not do much other than to allow Bezos to bask in left-wing praise and further “celebritize” this global issue. I would be much more impressed if Bezos strongly supported workplace policies and tax structures that allowed capitalism to work as Adam Smith intended, without concentrating so very much of the profits in his hands alone. In that happy event, workers both blue and white-collar could more easily afford the retrofitting and new technologies (electric vehicles. e.g.) that will make a collective difference and be more fair than one individual’s whims.

    • You do not even know what that ten billion will be used for, yet you already take personal shots. I am sure you will view it as “virtue signalling”, which is what those who do no good works call good works.

  • Its a pledge nothing more… paying off the greenies who stand in his way of becoming bigger. The company pays no taxes so what is $10B? Bitch about me I take my billions back . Greenies too will bow to the alter of funding their projects and carping about the world. 44.4 million metric tons of CO2 in 2018 is a meaningless number and sounds bad but lacks scale for evaluation. He who has the gold usually rules unless you arein a socalist country then you move your money.

    • It is strange to the rest of us when folk take personal shots at someone because they do not understand the logic of their actions, and ascribe nasty intentions to good deeds.

  • [print-me target="#post-%ID%"]

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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