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Renewable Energy

Bezos Earth Fund Widens Its Environmental Reach

Austin Ban

The latest round of grants from the Bezos Earth Fund will put $443 million toward environmental restoration and protection. 

A fund established by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to combat climate change recently announced a new round of grants, this one heavily focused on nature conservation and restoration, tracking climate goals and supporting underserved communities’ efforts to protect the environment.

Photo Courtesy OCG Saving The Ocean

As previously reported by The Business Download, the Bezos Earth Fund launched in February 2020 with a $10 billion commitment from Bezos and a goal of fighting the effects of climate change. To reach that goal, the fund provides grants to scientists, activists, and others who work to protect the environment and advance economic opportunities. 

The fund’s latest round, announced in early December, awarded 44 grants totaling $443 million to various projects and organizations. The grants include $130 million to advance the Justice40 initiative in the U.S., $261 million to further the 30×30 initiative that aims to protect 30% of the earth’s land and sea by 2030, and $51 million to support land restoration in the U.S. and Africa. 

“The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who are seizing the challenges that this decisive decade presents,” said Bezos Earth Fund President and CEO Andrew Steer.

 “Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and the protection of nature, two areas that demand stronger action.”

A little less than one-third of the money will go to Justice40, an initiative established to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities, with an emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable housing, and workforce development. 

The Bezos Earth Fund’s $130 million grant for this initiative will be directed to the 19 organizations working to provide climate and clean infrastructure investments to frontline communities. Grantees will focus on empowering community groups, pursuing decarbonization projects in underserved communities, and providing tools, data and skills to help organizations access government funds.

“Disadvantaged communities have borne the brunt of environmental damage for too long and are key players in driving the necessary solutions,” said Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Bezos Earth Fund. “With each grant we make, we are supporting leading institutions working with communities to advance climate justice efforts.”

Photo Courtesy Emiliano Vittoriosi

Justice40 grants from the Bezos Earth Fund include the following:

  • Five grants totaling $14 million to advance a data collaborative for Justice40, ensuring that the initiative is supported and held accountable by high-quality information and analysis.
  • Grants totaling $47 million to five non-government organizations (NGOs) based on their expertise and networks that can be leveraged to access public money, drive Justice40 funding, and amplify community-focused action.
  • Five grants totaling $38 million to help Native American communities access Justice40 funding for clean energy and climate-resilient development.
  • Grants totaling $31 million to identify best practices, provide training and resources to equip communities, and foster prolonged success.

Money earmarked for the 30×30 initiative will focus on regions that are important for biodiversity and hold large carbon stocks, and where governments have shown a commitment to achieving the initiative’s goals. Grants totaling $105.5 million will be used to create more than 11 million hectares of new protected areas in the Congo Basin, home to 70% of Africa’s forests. Eleven grants totaling $151.05 million will be used to create more than 48 million hectares of newly protected areas in the Tropical Andes, an important home to diverse species and Indigenous cultures.

Another $5 million in grant money will support planning of the world’s largest transnational marine-protected area in the Galapagos and Eastern Pacific. Other grants include $25 million to support Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ (IPLCs) efforts to steward the land, waters, and natural resources; and $1.5 million to support efforts to track green transitions related to energy, buildings, industry, and transportation.

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