Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has been frequently criticised for not paying enough taxes and for not giving away enough money. He appears to be trying to do better, by announcing a $10 billion commitment to fight climate change via a fund called Bezos Earth Fund.
Through a post on Instagram, Bezos said the money will go to "scientists, activists, NGOs" and any effort that "offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world". Multiple reports have clarified that Bezos is focused on charitable giving and the first grants will be issued this summer. It's unclear how one would apply. It's also unclear how fast the money will be spent.
Other than what Bezos shared on Instagram, little is known.
It's important to keep in mind Bezos' net worth is reportedly about $130 billion, and there has been a lot of talk during the 2020 US election cycle about making the multi-billionaire pay his fair share of taxes. As CNBC noted, Bezos would've paid $6 billion in taxes in 2019 under Senator Elizabeth Warren's tax plan. Similarly, under Senator Bernie Sanders' plan, he would've paid $9 billion.
So, if one of these proposals were adopted, the amount Bezos could pay in wealth taxes in a year or two would equal the entire Earth Fund.
Both these senators are running for the Democratic party nomination and are just two of many politicians beginning to discuss whether addressing large-scale problems such as climate change, health care, student debt, and the cost of education could be made possible simply by taxing the wealthy.
Perhaps Bezos' recent interest in giving is a way for him to stem such talk.
Either way, $10 billion is certainly nothing to sneeze at, and we're hopeful it'll be spent quickly to help solve the climate change crisis.