Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, speaks in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 19, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Denying climate change is dangerous and unreasonable in the year 2020, according to billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Speaking at Amazon’s Smbhav summit for small and medium-sized enterprises in New Delhi, India, Bezos described climate change as a big problem and warned that Earth is “a finite planet.”
“You can go back 10 years or 20 years and there were people who just did not acknowledge that climate change is real,” he said. “Anybody today who is not acknowledging that climate change is real — that we humans are affecting this planet in a very significant and dangerous way — those people are not being reasonable.”
“This is a big problem and it’s going to take collective action all over the world if we are going to make progress on that problem,” he added.
Amazon unveiled its “climate pledge” last year, which aims to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early, and commits the retailer to operate on 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Other climate initiatives the tech giant has committed to include being plastic-free in India by June and acquiring 100,000 electric delivery vehicles.
Under the Paris Agreement — a landmark deal adopted in 2015 — nations agreed to a framework to prevent global temperatures from rising by any more than 2 degrees Celsius, although the treaty aims to prevent global temperature rises exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. Targets and timeframes differ by country, and President Donald Trump has since announced his nation’s withdrawal from the agreement.
Amazon’s climate pledge was announced after more than 4,500 employees urged the company to take aggressive action on climate change back in April.
“When a large company like Amazon with 700,000 employees and a big global footprint does something like the climate pledge, it really can be a needle mover,” Bezos said on Wednesday. “Because it’s not just Amazon, it’s our supply chain. For us to meet that pledge, they have to meet that pledge.”
He added that he was using his own connections to work with CEOs around the world on climate change policies.
“We have sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system — this is the good one,” he said. “There are no other good planets in this solar system. We have to take care of this one.”
Bezos, who also owns space exploration firm Blue Origin, predicted that in hundreds of years, humanity would move all polluting industries into space.
Despite Bezos’ public commitment to reducing the impact of climate change through his companies, reports emerged earlier this month claiming Amazon had threatened to fire employees who spoke out against the retailer’s environmental policies.
There could also be a business incentive for corporations to implement climate policies, according to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.
In an annual letter to CEOs published Tuesday, Fink said climate change would soon trigger a significant reallocation of capital.
“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” he said. “But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”