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Bridge Bytes: Is the $10bn Bezos Earth Fund Enough to Save the Planet?

20 Feb 08:00 by Ben Taylor

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Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Jeff Bezos? Of course, this is not the line you’re probably familiar with hearing. However, having pledged $10bn in a plight to save the planet, could Jeff Bezos be our new superhero?

Whilst it has been widely reported that AI and machine learning could be crucial in leading the way to help prevent climate change, as of yet there is no single piece of artificial intelligence advanced enough to do it alone. Enter Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who recently announced in a post on Instagram that he will be donating $10bn to launch the Bezos Earth Fund which "will fund scientists, activists, NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world,". But where do you start? What do you spend $10bn on? And is it anywhere near enough to save the planet?

The short answer is no, unfortunately. 

Although $10bn (£7.6bn) is a gargantuan figure which most of us could only dream of seeing, it is still nowhere near enough to completely reverse the effects of climate change. And, with Amazon itself having a corporate footprint of 44.4 million metric tons in 2018, the fund has raised a few eyebrows in the Greenpeace camp.

Environmental experts have however suggested that the money could be spent on educating and developing lower income countries to help them move away from using higher levels of damaging fossil fuels. With huge fires damaging vast areas of Brazil, Bolivia and more recently Australia, the money could also go towards rewilding and planting trees.

$10bn is certainly a significant amount of money, and while it may not be enough to solve climate problems on its own, it could be enough to encourage more of the world’s biggest companies to donate and commit to helping boost the world’s ecosystem.