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$10 billion effort from Bezos moves into high gear to fight climate change, conserve and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity
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$10 billion effort from Bezos moves into high gear to fight climate change, conserve and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity

The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’s $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors that will drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.

With a new announcement from the Bezos Earth Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation receives $30 million to restore 1.25 million acres of land and forests in the Northern Great Plains and the longleaf pine ecosystem in the American South. Restoring deforested and degraded land is among the most widely accessible, cost-effective solutions in the fight against climate change.

Restoration at this scale can sequester carbon and protect biodiversity in some of the most ecologically significant yet imperiled places in the U.S. Local leaders from community conservation groups, nonprofits, Tribal Nations, and ranchers’ associations will design and deliver restoration in these landscapes.

Another $50 million was announced at COP27 to accelerate Africa’s locally led restoration movement, known as AFR100, which aims to restore 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes by 2030. Of this total, $27.2 million will go to One Tree Planted, One Acre Fund, World Resources Institute, and Realize Impact for restoration in two landscapes, the Greater Rusizi Basin and Great Rift Valley.

The Greater Rusizi Basin is part of the larger Congo Basin ecosystem, often referred to as “the lungs of the world,” and the Greater Rift Valley is home to Kenya’s most iconic forests and a breadbasket for the region. Funding will be deployed as grants and loans to small businesses and community projects to restore land, and to deliver trainings, project monitoring and mentoring to help restoration projects scale up. The funding contributes to AFR100’s campaign to mobilize $2 billion in public and private finance for African restoration this year.

“These grants are part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s $2 billion commitment to conserve and restore nature because it’s good for people, nature and the planet,” said Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Locally-led initiatives can help us fight climate change and protect biodiversity globally, and we are proud to work with partners on the ground to advance these efforts.”

“Local groups are central to achieving global restoration goals. By supporting the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, the Bezos Earth Fund is working to remove three critical barriers to locally led restoration,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “First, we must build capacity, drawing on the expertise that exists within African institutions and beyond to help restoration projects scale. Second, we must ensure that finance is intermediated more effectively to reach frontline groups. Finally, we must ensure that best-in-class monitoring systems are used to track progress on the ground.”

Real-time attribution of specific extreme events to climate change is a recent and still emerging capability. The Earth Fund — with a $10 million commitment — is supporting scientific breakthroughs to trace the impact of climate change on extreme weather events such as hurricanes, fires and droughts. Working with Climate Central, World Weather Attribution, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and others the work will not only expand climate science but communicate the links between human-induced climate change and extreme weather in India, the UK and U.S.

Massive investments are required to address the climate challenge, and carbon markets have a crucial role to play. Well-designed carbon markets have the potential to deliver hundreds of billions of dollars to climate solutions, but robust rules and clear standards are critical for success. Low-quality carbon credits and fears of “greenwash” practices by companies can undermine the potential of the market to deliver billions of tons of emission reductions and removals.

The Earth Fund announced $11 million to support two initiatives addressing voluntary carbon market governance and quality. The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market focuses on the supply of carbon credits and will provide a label for high-quality credits to make it easy for buyers to determine what good looks like among the millions of carbon credits on the market. The Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative will develop a code of practice to guide companies on how to use carbon credits sourced from outside their own value chains toward ambitious climate goals in a way that complements the deep emission cuts needed within their operations.

“A well-designed voluntary carbon market has the potential to deliver billions of dollars into climate solutions and reduce billions of tons of carbon emissions by 2050. Yet, current standards and rules are often confusing or lack rigor,” Steer said. “Trust is integral to the success of any system. These grants will help address these challenges.”

The climate crisis requires new investments in human capital and meeting global targets depends on governments taking action. Yet most key public officials in high-emission countries lack critical climate skills and knowledge. The Bezos Earth Fund is a founding partner of the Government Climate Campus, which is working to address this green skills emergency in government. With a $2.3 million grant, the Earth Fund is partnering with the Campus to develop a curriculum and train the first 5,000 public officials in Brazil, India, and the U.S. across various levels of government and seniority.

The goal, by 2025, is to educate 50,000 public officials to cut emissions by 50% this decade. The Campus will be a one-stop shop for actionable climate knowledge and implementation skills in the public sector.

The complete list of recent grants include: Restoring U.S. Habitats ($30 million) with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Restoring Degraded African landscapes through the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) ($50 million commitment with $27.2 million allocated) with One Tree Planted, One Acre Fund, World Resources Institute, and Realize Impact, Protection of America’s Public Lands and Waters: A Critical Pathway to 30X30 in the U.S. ($5 million) with Resources Legacy Fund, High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People ($1.5 million) via WRI, The Lovejoy Prize ($250,000) via the World Wildlife Fund, advancing and Communicating the Science of Extreme Weather Attribution ($10 million) with Climate Central, World Weather Attribution, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and others, scaling Carbon Markets Through Improved Governance ($11 million) with C2ES for the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for the Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative, training Senior Government officials on Climate Action ($2.35 million).

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