Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos has been accused of hypocrisy after telling world leaders that going to space made him realise ‘how thin the globe’s atmosphere is’ and ‘the private sector must also play its part to reduce carbon emissions’.
The billionaire has been criticised by Prince William among others for the amount of fossil fuel that space exploration consumes – and arrived at the UN climate change summit in his £48m private jet, fresh from celebrating Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ 66th birthday on a £2million-a-week superyacht off the coast of Turkey.
Speaking today, billionaire Mr Bezos, who earlier this year made a short journey to space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard, pledged $2billion (£1.47 billion) for land restoration in Africa, paid as part of the Bezos Earth Fund.
He told delegates: ‘I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you see the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true.
‘Looking back at earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin. The world so finite and so fragile. Now in this critical year, and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.’
Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, was among Mr Bezos’s critics today, calling him a ‘hypocrite’ and writing: ‘Amazon has a carbon footprint larger than most countries.’
US Republican Congress candidate Lavern Spicer said: ‘While you’re busy at home turning off lights and keeping your thermostat down, Jeff Bezos’s $65m Gulf Stream just lead a parade of 400 private jets into COP26. WE are the joke they’re LAUGHING at!’
Other commenters told the tycoon to ‘just pay your taxes’ and said the fact that he was giving a lecture on green issues after going into space was ‘an example of how the one per cent live differently to the rest of us’.
Mr Bezos, who has not yet been since with the Duke of Cambridge at the gathering, had previously indicated the investment would be $1billion (£732million) at an event with William’s father the Prince of Wales on Monday.
Speaking today, billionaire Mr Bezos, who earlier this year made a short journey to space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard, said he had gained new perspective
epa09558982 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) greets Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman of Amazon, for the Action on Forests and Land Use session at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow
He told delegates: ‘I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you see the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true’
Mr Bezos’ Gulf Stream has led a 400-strong parade of private jets into COP26, including scores of royals and dozens of ‘green’ CEOs – amid an extraordinary traffic jam which forced empty planes to fly 30 miles to find space to park
Boris Johnson and Jeff Bezos were pictured greeting each other by touching elbows following his speech at COP26
Pictured: Billionaire Jeff Bezos (centre) and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez (right) meet with Britain’s Prince Charles (left) last night in Dumfries House’s Blue Drawing Room on the eve of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. ‘The Prince of Wales has been involved in fighting climate change and protecting our beautiful world far longer than most. We had a chance to discuss these important issues on the eve of #COP26 — looking for solutions to heal our world, and how the @BezosEarthFund can help’
Pictured: A map showing Mr Bezos’ journeys on Friday in Turkey (bottom-left) and from Turkey to Glasgow on Sunday (main). The Blue Origin founder is said to have made the 120-mile round trip journey by chopper from Gokova to the resort town of Fethiye on Friday. The jet fuel used to power helicopters emits 21.095 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon burned. Since helicopters use up approximately 10.75 miles per gallon, Bezos’ helicopter emitted some 215 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On Sunday, he then flew the roughly 2,000 miles from Gokova
Founder and executive chairman of Amazon Jeff Bezos’ superyacht ‘Flying Fox’ with a length of 136 meters is seen anchored offshore of Yali neighborhood of Mugla, Turkey today
Jeff Bezos sparked a backlash online after flying to Glasgow in a private jet to deliver a speech about climate change
Mail on Sunday columnist Dan Hodges wrote after the speech: ‘Man who jetted off into space latest to lecture us about need for sustainability. COP26 is trolling us now’
Mr Bezos today said in his Cop26 speech: ‘We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come.
Outrage as billionaire eco warrior Bill Gates flies Jeff Bezos and FIFTY guests to Turkish beach resort from his $2M-a-week yacht for his 66th birthday
Microsoft founder Bill Gates transported his guests by helicopter from his €1.8million-a-week rental yacht ‘Lana’ to the Sea Me Beach club in Fethiye
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos were slammed as hypocrites for lecturing the world on the need to combat climate change by reducing carbon footprint while at the same time reportedly vacationing on superyachts off the coast of Turkey.
Multi-billionaire and Microsoft founder Gates celebrated his 66th birthday in Turkey in the company of fellow tycoon and Amazon founder Bezos on Friday.
Bezos was among the 50 guests invited to Gates’ private party beside the Mediterranean. It’s not clear whether any of Gates’ family helped him celebrate at his exclusive bash.
Gates – once the richest man on earth who has dropped to fourth on the Forbes Rich List ranking with $124 billion – transported his guests by helicopter from his $2million-a-week rental yacht ‘Lana’ to the Sea Me Beach club in Fethiye.
The jet fuel used to power helicopters emits 21.095 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon burned, and helicopters travel approximately 10.75 miles per gallon.
According to reports, Bezos also traveled to Gates’ superyacht by helicopter.
The Blue Origin founder is said to have made the 120-mile round trip journey by chopper from Govoka to the resort town of Fethiye.
Based on the same estimations, Bezos’ helicopter emitted some 215 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Both Bezos and Gates are reportedly staying on superyachts – each of which emits 7,020 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 19 tons per day.
‘Two thirds of the land in Africa is degraded, but this can be reversed.
‘Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth, while also sequestering carbon.’
Mr Bezos added: ‘Each year forests and landscapes absorb 11billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to slow climate change.
‘As we destroy nature, we reverse this process. Cut down a forest, destroy the mangroves, pave over the prairies, and instead of sequestering carbon, we emit it.
‘In too many parts of the world nature is already flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source. This is a profound and urgent danger to us all.’
He said that he was ‘honoured’ to pledge $2billion to restore nature as part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s ‘$10billion commitment to fight climate change, enhance nature, advance environmental justice and economic opportunity’.
On Sunday, MailOnline observed at least 52 private jets landing at Glasgow – while estimates put the total number flying in for the conference at 400.
Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year.
Mr Bezos – who regularly lectures the world on climate change – arrived in Glasgow fresh from celebrating Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ 66th birthday on a £2million-a-week superyacht off the coast of Turkey in an event that generated fresh claims of green hypocrisy.
He reached the boat by helicopter, according to reports.
Last night world leaders including Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau joined hundreds for the biggest gathering of Government representatives since the birth of the United Nations – ahead of the last ‘full’ day of the COP26 summit today.
The congregation of leaders appeared in high spirits as they put disagreements on hold and capped off the first day at the COP26 climate conference with a lavish royal reception at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and the Duchess of Cornwall.
During the night the Prime Minister, who hosted the evening at the recently renovated gallery, told leaders the summit was ‘quite an extraordinary historic event’ and it was even more important because ‘we face nothing less than a mortal threat to our planet and to our civilisation’.
He also hailed Prince Charles as ‘the man to defuse the bomb at the world’s moment of danger’ and described him as a ‘prophet without honour’.
His comments came as world leaders prepare for a day make-or-break day negotiations during what will be the final day of the climate change conference for many of them – with leaders leaving delegates behind to negotiate on their behalf.
The lavish reception was opened by the Queen who urged world leaders to ‘earn a place in history’ and ‘answer the call of those future generations’ in an impassioned speech.
Mr Johnson’s comments came after President Biden apologised for his predecessor Donald Trump taking the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and pledged the US would up its financial stake in fighting climate change, arguing the biggest producers of it should be its biggest investors in fixing it.
Her Majesty, 95, who was forced to miss the conference after her overnight stay in hospital last month, told leaders via video ‘to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship’ as Government representatives attended the reception for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Prince William speaks to a group prior to a meeting with Earthshot prize winners and finalists at the Glasgow Science Center during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow today. Jeff Bezos has been criticised by Prince William among others for the amount of fossil fuel that space exploration consumes – and arrived at the UN climate change summit in his £48m private jet. The pair have not been spotted together
World leaders pose for a group photo during an evening reception to mark the opening day of the COP26 summit in Glasgow
Boris Johnson, who hosted the event at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, hailed Prince Charles for his efforts in tackling climate change
She went on to say that ‘none of us will live forever’ and ‘we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps’ as she urged leaders to reach decisive COP climate change deals.
In her most personal speech to date, the monarch also paid tribute to Prince Philip and described how ‘the impact of the environment on human progress’ was a subject close to the heart of her ‘dear late husband’ – who in 1969 told a gathering: ‘If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.’
After the monarch’s powerful speech, the Prime Minister said: ‘What we’ve got today, as Her Majesty alluded to, is the biggest gathering of world leaders in this country since the foundation of the UN at the end of the Second World War, and it’s quite an extraordinary historic event.
‘But in a way, what we are doing today, is even more important, because we face nothing less than a mortal threat to our planet and to our civilisation, to our way of life.’
‘A PROFOUND AND URGENT DANGER’: JEFF BEZOS’S CLIMATE CHANGE SPEECH TO COP26 IN FULL
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaking at the Leaders’ Action on Forests and Land-use event during the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow
Nature provides all the food we eat, the water we drink, and the oxygen we breathe. It gives us life. It is beautiful, but it is also fragile. I was reminded of this in July when I went into space with Blue Origin.
I was told that seeing the earth from space changes the lens through which you view the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true.
Looking back at earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin. The world so finite and so fragile.
Now in this critical year, in what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.
Climate change gives us a powerful reason to invest in nature. Each year forests and landscapes absorb 11billion ton of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to slow climate change.
As we destroy nature, we reverse this process. Cut down a forest, destroy the mangroves, pave over the prairies, and instead of sequestering carbon, we emit it.
In too many parts of the world nature is already flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source. This is a profound and urgent danger to us all.
That’s why last month in New York, nine philanthropic organisations announced an additional $5billion to support the goal of 30 by 30 – to protect 30% of all land and sea by 2030.
I was honoured to be a part of this with a $1billion pledge from the Bezos Earth Fund.
Today I’m pleased to announce a $2billion pledge allocated directly to restoring nature and transforming food systems.
This is part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s $10billion commitment to fight climate change, enhance nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.
Together this $3billion in pledges will drive a new three-fold nature agenda for the Bezos Earth Fund, focused simultaneously on conservation, restoration, and food transformation.
We must conserve what we still have. We must restore what we’ve lost. And we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come.
In the atmosphere molecules of carbon dioxide cause climate change and risk destroying life as we know it, but bring that carbon back down to earth through the magic of photosynthesis into trees, plants, crops and soil, and this brings life and vitality.
Today two thirds of the land in Africa is degraded but this can be reversed.
Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields, and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth while also sequestering carbon.
CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, left, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, leave the stage following a session on Action on Forests and Land Use, during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday
Continent-wide initiatives like Africa 100 and the Great Green Wall offer significant hope. They must now be scaled up.
Ahead of Cop27 next year the Bezos Earth Fund would be eager to participate in a concerted strategy led by African nations to seriously and effectively ramp up support for restoration on the continent.
However, we cannot rely only on governments, NGOs and philanthropies to solve the climate crisis.
The private sector must also play its part to reduce carbon emissions.
Companies need to take leadership positions.
Amazon has cofounded the Climate Pledge with Christiana Figueres and set a goal to reach net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement goals.
As part of this pledge, Amazon aims to power all its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, and is working to convert its delivery fleet to electric vehicles.
Amazon is inviting other companies to join the Climate Pledge – and more than 200 have to date.
Companies can also lead the way on nature-based solutions.
Over the past six months, Amazon partnered with leading companies, countries committed to protecting the tropical forests, and the governments of Norway, the UK and the US, to mobilise an unprecedented level of funding to fight tropical deforestation through an initiative called The Leaf Coalition.
Amazon has committed significant financial support for Leaf, and the coalition will be signing letters of intent with governments that are ready to receive support.
More details will be shared in the next session.
Let me be clear, when people hanker for the good ol’ days and glamourise the past, they are almost always wrong. By almost all metrics, life is much better today than it was in the past. Global poverty rates are lower, infant mortality and life expectancy are better, and education rates are higher.
But there is a notable exception: The natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers and the pristine air of the pre-industrial world.
This is an unacceptable anomaly, and it’s one we can reverse. The question is simple: Will we in this room work together, do the hard work together, to gift our children and grandchildren an improving natural world?
I know the answer is yes. And I look forward to working with all of you on this important and rewarding journey. Thank you.