Amazon vows to be carbon neutral by 2040 as its own workers plan a climate change walkout

Jeff Bezos has vowed to make Amazon carbon neutral by 2040, saying they will meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of schedule.

The world’s richest man said part of that pledge is an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from a start-up they have invested in.

Cutting emissions is a challenging goal for online retail giant, which delivers 10 billion items a year and has a massive transportation footprint and its own employees are planning to walkout on Friday in support of the global climate strike.

They have taken issue with Amazon´s cloud computing deals with oil-drilling companies, and raised concerns in an open letter to Bezos and at the company’s most recent annual meeting. 

CEO Bezos said Thursday: ‘We know we can do it and we know we have to do it.

‘We want to use our scope and our scale to lead the way.’

Jeff Bezos participates in the unveiling of an Amazon environmental initiative entitled 'The Climate Pledge', in Washington Thursday. Amazon's new environmental initiative aims to meet the goals of the Paris environmental agreement ten years early

Jeff Bezos participates in the unveiling of an Amazon environmental initiative entitled 'The Climate Pledge', in Washington Thursday. Amazon's new environmental initiative aims to meet the goals of the Paris environmental agreement ten years early

Jeff Bezos participates in the unveiling of an Amazon environmental initiative entitled ‘The Climate Pledge’, in Washington Thursday. Amazon’s new environmental initiative aims to meet the goals of the Paris environmental agreement ten years early

Amazon says it has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans that will start hitting the road in 2021 as the company vowed to cut the amount of damage it does to the environment

Amazon says it has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans that will start hitting the road in 2021 as the company vowed to cut the amount of damage it does to the environment

Amazon says it has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans that will start hitting the road in 2021 as the company vowed to cut the amount of damage it does to the environment

The billionaire announced a number of actions at a press conference in Washington ahead of Climate Week in New York next week, a global gathering of world and company leaders seeking ways to fight climate change. 

Friday marks a global day of demonstrations to demand action on climate change, ahead of a UN summit on zero emissions on September 23.

WHAT IS THE PARIS AGREEMENT?

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. 

It has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:

1) A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

3) Goverments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries

4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science

Amazon faces mounting pressure to address its environmental impact, with more than 1,000 of its workers planning to walk off the job Friday as part of the Global Climate Strike. 

Bezos said: ‘The global strike tomorrow, I think it’s totally understandable. We don’t want this to be the tragedy of the commons. We all have to work together on this.’ 

Amazon will meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of schedule, according to Bezos after The Trump administration announced in June 2017 it would be withdrawing from it.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change by 2050.

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’. 

He also said the company was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today.

Dave Clark, senior vice president of Amazon Operations, called it ‘the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever’.

Amazon and Ford Motor Co are among the investors in Rivian. Bezos said the first electric delivery vans for Amazon will be on the road by 2021, and all 100,000 will be deployed by 2024.

The retail giant will also invest $100 million to restore forests and wetlands, said Bezos, adding the company will take a ‘careful look’ at political campaign contributions it makes that could be going to politicians that deny climate science.

It plans to have 100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030. That’s up from 40% today. 

Bezos’ announcement comes a day before more than 1,500 Amazon employees pledged to walk off their jobs as part of the Global Climate Strike, in which thousands of people around the world will protest climate change

Bezos also said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today

Bezos also said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today

Bezos also said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today

Amazon previously said it would order 20,000 delivery vans from Daimler AG. Bezos did not put a total dollar figure on the efforts to decarbonize but said many of the efforts would save money.

‘We’ve been in the middle of the herd on this issue and we want to move to the forefront,’ Bezos said.

He vowed to try to convince other company CEOs to sign ‘The Climate Pledge.’ Separately, a Rivian spokeswoman declined to discuss the financial terms but said the vehicles for Amazon will be assembled in Illinois and 10,000 will be on the road by late 2022.

Rivian added that when the fleet is fully deployed, it will save 4 million metric tons of CO2 a year.

Bezos said Amazon would continue to work with energy companies. ‘To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won’t do that,’ Bezos said.

A proposal that the company report how it plans to deal with climate change received only 29.8% of votes at the shareholder meeting, despite signatures in support from nearly 7,700 employees.

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