'Middle of the herd' no more: Amazon tackles climate change
Thursday, 19 September 2019 NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
Amazon has faced pressure from its own employees who say the company should do more to combat climate change. Earlier this year, more than 8,000 Amazon staffers signed an open letter to Bezos, demanding that Amazon cut its carbon emissions, end its use of fossil fuels and stop working with oil companies who use Amazon's technology to find drillable oil faster. More than 1,500 employees are planning a walk-out Friday to support the Global Climate Strike, a worldwide climate change protest.
Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, a group founded by Amazon workers, said the company's announcement amounted to a "huge win" and proved that employee pressure works. It said in a statement that it would keep pushing the issue as long as Amazon continues...
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