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Amazon taking a lead on climate change response

SFGate Friday, 20 September 2019
Online shopping giant Amazon revealed a carbon footprint Thursday that rivals that of a small country, and vowed to reduce the damage to the planet by cutting its use of fossil fuels.

The company, which ships more than a 10 billion items a year on fuel-guzzling planes and trucks, said it has ordered 100,000 electric vans that will start delivering packages to shoppers’ doorsteps in 2021. It also plans to have 100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030. That’s up from 40% today.

“We’ve been in the middle of the herd on this issue, and we want to move to the forefront,” said Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who announced the initiative at an event in Washington.

Amazon said it emitted 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, a number that comes close to pollution rates of some small nations.

“Its greenhouse gas emissions are about 85% of the emissions of Switzerland or Denmark,” said Gregg Marland, a professor at the Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics at Appalachian State University.

Illinois startup Rivian, which manufactures electric trucks, will build 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles exclusively for Amazon beginning in 2021, the companies said Thursday.

The huge order by Amazon represents a previously unrevealed commercial vehicle to be designed and built at Rivian’s factory in Normal, alongside the manufacturer’s consumer-focused electric truck and SUV lines. Amazon is also a significant investor in Rivian.

“This has been in the works for some time,” Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast said Thursday. “The idea that you can marry consumer applications to these more commercial applications is just really exciting.”

Target production is to have 10,000 electric...
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News video: Amazon, Bezos step up fight to tackle climate change

Amazon, Bezos step up fight to tackle climate change 01:13

Amazon's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos announced a plan to meet the goals of the Paris Climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule. Conway G. Gittens has the details.

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