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Billionaire Jeff Bezos–the fourth-wealthiest person in the world–has told CNN he plans to give away the bulk of his $124 billion net worth to fight climate change, saying he was “building the capacity to be able to give away this money”.
Asked by CNN in an exclusive interview whether he intended to give away most of his wealth within his lifetime, Bezos said: "Yeah, I do."
The Amazon founder was vague on specific details surrounding where this vast fortune might go, but speculators are examining the precedent that saw Bezos commit $10 billion over a decade to the Bezos Earth Fund, co-chaired by his partner, philanthropist Lauren Sanchez.
The Earth Fund has a strong focus on reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials, with the construction industry contributing some 40% of emissions according to Deloitte.
Overall, the Fund also focuses on lobbying financial regulators over climate-related risks and promoting advanced technologies for carbon-monitoring and carbon-friendly building.
Bezos’ statement to CNN comes after mounting criticism that he has refrained from clearly dedicating his fortune to charity.
Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in 2021, though remains chairman of the board. He also owns the Washington Post and Blue Origin space tourism.
On Sunday, Bezos granted Dolly Parton the Bezos Courage & Civility Award.
The commitment to climate change action by Bezos also comes amid the United Nations climate conference, COP27, taking place in Egypt this month, where key issues such as reforming international financial institutions are being addressed, as well as “greenwashing”.
Bezos' interview with CNN was aired just hours before Amazon announced it would cut some 10,000 jobs, Bloomberg reports.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com