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The New Climate Investor on the Block? Amazon.

Amazon is funding a $2 billion venture investment program aimed at lowering carbon emissions.

Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant led by its founder Jeff Bezos, announced Tuesday that it has created a $2 billion fund to invest in companies moving the world toward a low-carbon economy. 

The Climate Pledge Fund will back businesses of all sizes, including startups and established companies seeking scale, Amazon said in a post on its website. The venture investment program will initially target industries such as transportation, energy generation, storage, and agriculture. 

“Low-carbon solutions need to be developed in all sectors of the global economy,” Amazon said on its website. The Climate Pledge Fund “will consider investments in companies developing products or services that reduce carbon emissions and help preserve the natural world.” 

Amazon, which has begun seeking expressions of interest from companies, is aiming to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, according to its statement Tuesday. As part of this effort, the e-commerce company said it has ordered delivery vehicles from Rivian, a Plymouth, Michigan-based electric car maker in which it has invested $440 million.  

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” Bezos said in a September statement on Amazon’s commitment to net zero carbon. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.” 

The 2015 Paris Agreement is a collective effort among countries to curb global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In November the U.S. formally began its withdrawal from the agreement, a decision made by President Donald Trump in 2017, according to a statement last year from Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

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That hasn’t stopped U.S. investors and companies from seeking ways to battle the climate crisis — or Americans from desiring more government action on the issue. Two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government is doing too little to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to Pew Research Center report Tuesday. 

GMO co-founder Jeremey Grantham said in a paper last year that investors should be jumping at the chance to allocate to climate-change strategies as they reduce portfolio risk and potentially produce equity-like gains, all while taking on the existential threat posed by carbon emissions.

Grantham is also using his personal fortune to tackle climate change through venture capital deals, saying in February at an Investing for Impact conference hosted by The Economist in New York that VC is the sole feature of American capitalism still thriving. 

For its part, Amazon said it aims to run entirely on renewable energy by 2025, five years earlier than previously planned. The Seattle-based company’s wind and solar projects include solar rooftops on its fulfillment and sort centers globally, according to its climate pledge announcement Tuesday.

Its $2 billion fund is not its first investment effort related to the environment. The company said its $100 million Right Now Climate Fund, created in September, focuses on “nature-based solutions” and reforestation projects globally.

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