Amazon committed Thursday to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years early and becoming carbon neutral by 2040. To do so, the company says it plans to run 80 percent of its “global infrastructure” on renewable energy by 2024, and 100 percent by 2030. Amazon’s efforts are part of a new program called the “Climate Pledge,” of which Amazon is the first company to join. The pledge includes measuring and publicly reporting greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, something thousands of other corporations have done for years but that Amazon has declined to do in the past.
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In addition to the Climate Pledge, Amazon announced in a blog post that it would order 100,000 electric vehicles from Rivian, a startup the company invested over $400 million in earlier this year. Amazon says it plans for Rivian vans to begin delivering Amazon packages by 2021, and to have the full fleet of trucks on the road by 2030.Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group organizing Friday’s walkout, say Amazon’s new goals could have gone further. In a statement, the group called the Climate Pledge a “huge win” but said it’s ultimately not enough. “The Paris Agreement, by itself, won’t get us to a livable world,” the employees wrote. “Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we’ll be in the streets to continue the fight for a livable future.” The planned demonstration is part of a general global strike led by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. Workers from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are also joining.Amazon Employees for Climate Justice have outlined three appeals for their employer: Stop donating to politicians and lobbying groups that deny the reality of climate change, stop working with oil and gas companies to optimize fossil fuel extraction, and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world needs to cut global emissions in half by 2030 to limit warming to below 1.5 degrees.
Amazon’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 is significantly far off from what the employees are asking for. The workers aren’t merely calling on Amazon to offset the impact of the greenhouse gases it emits into the environment; they want it to stop using fossil fuels entirely within the next decade.Bezos said he wouldn’t meet the employees’ two additional demands, either. “We’re going to work hard for energy companies, and in our view, we're going to work very hard to make sure that as they transition that they have the best tools possible,” the CEO said, according to news reports. In April, Gizmodo reported that Amazon Web Services had aggressively courted oil and gas companies. Earlier this year, Andrew Jassy, the CEO of AWS, spoke at a fossil fuels conference where he stressed Amazon’s relationship with the industry.