Ama­zon’s car­bon foot­print grew 15% last year

Orlando Sentinel - - Business - By Joseph Pisani

NEW YORK — Ama­zon said Tues­day that its car­bon foot­print rose 15% last year, even as it launched ini­tia­tives to re­duce its harm on the en­vi­ron­ment.

The online shop­ping gi­ant said ac­tiv­i­ties tied to its busi­nesses emit­ted 51.17 mil­lion met­ric tons of car­bon diox­ide last year, the equiv­a­lent of 13 coal burn­ing power plants run­ning for a year. That’s up from 2018, when it re­ported a car­bon foot­print of 44.4 mil­lion met­ric tons. Ama­zon dis­closed its car­bon foot­print the first time last year after em­ploy­ees pres­sured the com­pany to do more to com­bat cli­mate change.

Gregg Mar­land, a pro­fes­sor at the Re­search In­sti­tute for En­vi­ron­ment, En­ergy

and Eco­nomics at Ap­palachian State Univer­sity, said his first re­ac­tion to Ama­zon’s mas­sive car­bon foot­print was, “Oh wow.” But he said the com­pany was com­pre­hen­sive in cal­cu­lat­ing the num­ber, even in­clud­ing the emis­sions from shop­pers’ drives to its Whole Foods gro­cery stores and the en­ergy used to make a Kin­dle tablet.

Ama­zon said that while its car­bon foot­print grew, the amount of car­bon it emit­ted for ev­ery dol­lar spent on the site fell 5% be­tween 2018 and 2019.

The Seat­tle-based com­pany also said it’s on track to have 100% of its en­ergy use come from so­lar pan­els, wind tur­bines and other re­new­able en­ergy by 2025, five years ear­lier than it had planned. And on Tues­day, Ama­zon an­nounced it would start a $2 bil­lion fund to in­vest in com­pa­nies that make prod­ucts and tech­nol­ogy that help fight cli­mate change.

But the in­crease in its car­bon foot­print shows how tricky it is for a rapid­ly­grow­ing com­pany like Ama­zon to cut down on pol­lu­tion. Ama­zon de­pends on fuel-guz­zling planes and trucks to ship bil­lions of items a year around the world. Emis­sions from fos­sil fu­els rose 18% last year, Ama­zon said Tues­day.

Or­ders have in­creased amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, as more stuck-athope peo­ple shop online.

Ear­lier this year, Ama­zon CEO and founder Jeff Be­zos said he would spend $10 bil­lion of his per­sonal for­tune to fund sci­en­tists, ac­tivists and non­prof­its work­ing to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment.

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