Billionaires shouldn’t fill climate finance gaps, says Bezos Earth Foundation chief | Environment

Billionaires shouldn’t fill climate finance gaps, says Bezos Earth Foundation chief | Environment

Billionaires can’t be expected to fill the climate finance gaps left by rich countries that fail to deliver on promises to the developing world, the head of the Bezos Earth Foundation has said.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. created a $10bn (£8.8bn) endowment To protect the Earth’s environment in 2020 Andrew Stier, president and CEO of the organization Bezos Earth Foundationoversees it alongside the billionaire, his partner Lauren Sanchez and the foundation’s board.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of Cop27, countries including the UK and with the U.S. failing to deliver on climate finance pledges and often giving poorer countries loans instead of grants, Stier said it is not the role of philanthropy to fill the resulting funding gaps.

“We want to resist just replacing [government money]. That wouldn’t be good,” he said. “I don’t think we should put up with the idea that we are somehow an alternative to the government, because governments have an obligation and they don’t fulfill it as much as they should.

“For example, in the case of coal decommissioning in South Africa, it’s not our job to come in and replace any of the $8.5 billion (£7.5 billion) that governments committed last year. [at Cop26]”.

Steer’s comments resonate reports Climate Change News that rich countries are pressuring the UN’s Green Climate Fund to seek funding from super-rich individuals and big businesses, with three projects on hold due to UK and US defaults.

Great Britain the government is under fire Failure to deliver $300 million in promised climate finance payments amid growing frustrations developing countries because of unfulfilled promises on the $100 billion annual climate finance target.

Earlier this week, that Gabon’s Environment Minister Lee WhiteHe said broken promises about money had left a “feeling of betrayal” in the UN climate process, and he feared Western governments would only take climate change seriously when their citizens started dying in greater numbers from the effects of global warming.

Steer said the Bezos Earth Fund often seeks partnerships with governments on projects it funds, making its donation conditional on funding from the partner government. The money received so far has been used, among other initiatives, to fund conservation projects in the DRC and the northern Andes and to improve a database useful for climate researchers.

“We spend quite a lot of time actually talking to European governments. Not because we need their money, because we want them to invest in things that we and they think are important,” he said.

“As of today, I understand that only 3% of charity money is still going to climate change. If you could double that, it would make a big difference, up to 6%, since the vast majority of philanthropy goes to fairly well-endowed universities and religious organizations.

“Charity has several features that public money does not have. These include the ability to make quick and flexible decisions. These include the ability to take risks that others may not be willing to take. We can get in there first, and if we do our job well, it will make it more attractive for private and public investment.”

The Bezos Earth Foundation has distributed nearly $1.5 billion so far, often partnering with NGOs and governments on conservation and decarbonization initiatives. It aims to distribute the entire $10 billion by 2030.

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