Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) said Thursday that the company's legal and HR teams had questioned some of their members about public statements they had made urging Amazon to take climate action. Some also received emails saying they would be fired if they continued to speak up.
We must be able to speak up. Here is our press response to Amazon’s intimidation tactics. 3/ https://t.co/7DqhCw09Yf— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@Amazon Employees For Climate Justice)1577983568.0
"It was scary to be called into a meeting like that, and then to be given a follow-up email saying that if I continued to speak up, I could be fired," user experience principal designer Maren Costa, one of the targeted employees, told The Guardian. "But I spoke up because I'm terrified by the harm the climate crisis is already causing, and I fear for my children's future. Any policy that says I can't talk about something that is a threat to my children – all children – is a problem for me."
Costa said she was one of four employees who had been questioned and one of two threatened with firing.
Costa had spoken to The Washington Post in October about how Amazon's cloud computing helps with oil and gas exploration, the paper reported. She was called into a meeting to discuss her comments that month, and then received an email saying she had violated the company's external communications policy and that any future violation could "result in formal corrective action, up to and including termination of your employment with Amazon," according to The Washington Post.
Jamie Kowalski, who also spoke to The Washington Post with Costa in October, received a similar message. Employee Emily Cunningham was separately told she had violated Amazon policies by speaking to reporters and on social media.
AECJ said that Amazon had updated its communications policy one day after the group announced it would participate in the Global Climate Strike Sept. 20, 2019. The updated policy requires employees to get prior approval before speaking publicly about the company while identified as an employee.
"Amazon's newly updated communications policy is having a chilling effect on workers who have the backbone to speak out and challenge Amazon to do better," software engineer Victoria Liang said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "This policy is aimed at silencing discussion around publicly available information. It has nothing to do with protecting confidential data, which is covered by a completely different set of policies."
Amazon countered that the new policy had been in development since spring and was not intended to target any group of employees.
"Our policy regarding external communications is not new and, we believe, is similar to other large companies," a company spokesperson told The Guardian. "We recently updated the policy and related approval process to make it easier for employees to participate in external activities such as speeches, media interviews, and use of the company's logo. As with any company policy, employees may receive a notification from our HR team if we learn of an instance where a policy is not being followed."
The earlier policy had required employees to get email permission from senior vice presidents before talking to the press, but was not often enforced with activists, The Washington Post reported. The new policy introduced an intranet page employees could use to get permission from lower-level executives before speaking publicly. Approval can take up to two weeks and requires a "business justification."
AECJ burst onto the scene in April of last year with an open letter urging the company to adopt climate policies such as halving emissions by 2030, phasing out fossil fuel use and compensating employees impacted by extreme weather events. The letter was eventually signed by 8,703 employees.
The employees also tried and failed to push through a shareholder resolution calling for climate action.
AECJ said it would continue to push the company to take action, despite Bezos' promises and HR's threats. The employee activists are calling for the company to stop facilitating oil and gas exploration with its cloud computing and to stop donating to climate denying politicians. They also want it to pursue carbon neutrality by 2030, not 2040.
"Amazon's policy is not going to stop the momentum tech workers have built over the past year at Amazon," data engineer Justin Campbell said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "The climate crisis is the greatest challenge we face, and the only way we can find solutions is by protecting people's right to speak freely and disrupting the status quo."
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The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.
In a plan called Amazon's "Climate Pledge," Bezos, the world's richest man, promised to release frequent carbon emissions reports, implement decarbonization strategies and offset remaining emissions.
"Amazon is as complex as many companies combined," said Dara O'Rourke, a senior principal scientist on Amazon's sustainability team, as CNBC reported. "That forced us to build one of the most sophisticated carbon accounting systems in the world. We had to build a system that had the granular data, but at an Amazon scale."
The company will also purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from manufacturer Rivian. It also plans for 80 percent of its energy use to come from renewable sources in five years and transition to net zero emissions by 2030, according to CNBC.
"We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we've decided to use our size and scale to make a difference," said Bezos, in a statement, as TechCrunch reported. "If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can."
The announcement addresses one of the concerns of the employees who planned to walk out today. The walkout participants have three demands: the company has zero emissions by 2030, that it stop donating to the campaigns of politicians who deny the climate crisis is real and that it stop providing custom cloud-computing services that facilitate oil and gas extraction, as The New York Times reported.
While Amazon attempts to make itself a leader in transitioning to net-zero emissions, Bezos refused to give into his employees' demand, considering the enormous profits the company makes from its cloud-computing services, especially off of oil and gas companies. After all, in 2018, Amazon's web services grew 47 percent and accounted for the bulk of the company's profits, according to ZDNet.
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," said Bezos, as The New York Times reported. "To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won't do that."
He also said the company would look at where its campaign donations were going, but he refused to say that it would stop supporting climate crisis deniers. He also refused to support the Green New Deal.
"There are lot of different ideas for what the Green New Deal is and it's probably too broad to say too much about that in particular," he said, as The New York Times reported.
The electric vehicles that Amazon ordered will start to appear on the roads in 2021, with 10,000 on the road by 2022 and 100,000 by 2030. Amazon's electric vehicle purchase is the largest ever for electric vehicles, said Dave Clark, who directs worldwide operations for Amazon, on Twitter. The company also announced that the electric vehicle fleet will reduce carbon emissions by 4 million metric tons, as TechCrunch reported.
Amazon also announced a $100 million donation to The Nature Conservancy to form the Right Now Climate Fund. The fund will work to restore and protect forests and wetlands as a way to remove carbon from the atmosphere, as CNBC reported.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
The employee-filed resolution asked the company to develop a public plan for responding to extreme weather events and weaning itself off of fossil fuels. It was publicly backed by more than 7,600 employees, who signed their names to an open letter, a novel tactic for tech employee activism, The New York Times said.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group that grew out of the resolution, said in a press release they will file another if the company's board doesn't increase its climate commitments.
"The enthusiasm is overwhelming," Amazon employee Rebecca Sheppard, who works in air cargo operations, told the Los Angeles Times. "We'll be back."
Ahead of the vote, the resolution had won the support of two of the largest proxy advisory firms in the U.S. — Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Glass Lewis said that Amazon was less transparent about its sustainability plans than similar companies, The New York Times said. However, the Amazon Board formally opposed the resolution, meaning it faced an uphill battle to gain the 50 percent of support it would have needed to pass, according to the employee press release. Amazon will release the final vote tallies Friday, the company told the Los Angeles Times.
During the meeting, tensions rose as the resolution was introduced. User experience designer Emily Cunningham addressed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos directly, asking him to come on stage and speak to employees about the resolution. He refused to engage, the employee press release said.
"We have the talent, the passion, the imagination. We have the scale, speed, and resources. Jeff, all we need is your leadership," Cunningham said during her speech.
WATCH: Amazon employees confront Jeff Bezos over lack of action on the #climatecrisis at the shareholder meeting today. We asked him to join us and commit to bold climate leadership now. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/okGmFCdj7B— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) May 22, 2019
Around 50 people stood up in support after Cunningham introduced the resolution, CNBC reported.
When Bezos did appear later in the meeting to take questions, he was asked about what the company was doing on climate. He said it was "hard to find an issue more important than climate change." Amazon's global sustainability head Kara Hurst said the company would share its carbon footprint later in the year, CNBC reported.
Two months after the employees filed their resolution in December of 2018, Amazon announced Shipment Zero, a plan to have 50 percent of shipping emit net zero carbon by 2030. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said the measure did not go far enough, but also said it was proof their activism had made a difference.
"In six months, we've won changes including Shipment Zero and a commitment to share our company's carbon footprint, but we know these half-steps are not nearly enough to address the scale of our company's contributions toward the climate crisis," Software development engineer Jamie Kowalski, who co-filed the resolution, said in the press release. "Amazon has the scale and resources to spark the world's imagination and lead the way on addressing the climate crisis. What we're missing is leadership from the very top of the company."
Amazon voted down 12 resolutions in total Wednesday, including two that sought to stop the company from selling facial recognition software to government agencies over concerns it would enable racial discrimination and human rights abuses, CNBC reported.
Amazon has never passed a shareholder resolution, The New York Times said, but failed resolutions have still sparked change. The board originally opposed a resolution calling for it to consider more diverse candidates last year, but eventually adopted it after public pressure and added two women of color to its previously all-white membership.
Amazon Employees Praised for Using Shareholder Status to Demand Comprehensive Climate Plan. https://t.co/zPb4h8bLCo— Brad Zarnett 🇨🇦 (@BradZarnett) December 18, 2018
- 4500+ Amazon Employees Call on the Company to Take Climate ... ›
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The letter was posted on Medium Wednesday by a group calling itself Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and was addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors. The group called on the company to release an action plan on climate change based on the principles outlined in their letter.
"Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world's imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis," the group wrote. "We believe this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we're ready to be a climate leader."
As of 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, more than 4,500 employees had signed on.
UPDATE: As of 6 PM (PST) we have surpassed 4,500 signatures! A deep thank you to every Amazon employee who signed! 👏🏻👏🏽👏🏿— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@Amazon Employees For Climate Justice)1554948128.0
Amazon software engineer and letter co-signer Rajit Iftikhar confirmed to CNN that the letter followed two meetings between concerned employees and Amazon leadership about the company's climate plans that did not yield clear results.The letter also grew out of the work 28 former and current employees who filed a shareholder resolution in December of 2018, the group's press release said. The company had told them it would soon print a statement of opposition to that resolution.
"This campaign started with a dozen workers coming together to take action on our climate crisis. Now we have thousands of employees from all over the world who are publicly asking for a company-wide plan that matches the scale and urgency of the problem," Iftikhar wrote in the press release. "We've been blown away by the amount of support and passion there is for making Amazon a leader on climate justice."
The movement of Amazon workers is remarkable in two respects, The New York Times noted. For one, it is rare for tech workers to give their names when agitating for change. Secondly, it represents the growth of an emerging tactic for employees to use a shareholder resolution to influence their employers. Historically, this tactic has been used by outside groups, but it is increasingly being used by tech employees who are given stock options as part of their benefits packages. Amazon has more than 65,000 corporate and tech employees in the U.S., but more people have signed the letter so far than are employed at any one Amazon location other than Seattle or the Bay Area.
The principles that the letter writers hope Amazon will adopt are:
1. Climate goals consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that says we must halve emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels
2. A full phase-out of fossil-fuel use
3. Prioritizing climate when making business decisions
4. Prioritizing reducing harm to vulnerable communities
5. Advocating for government policies that reduce emissions
6. Fairly compensating employees impacted by extreme weather events
The letter also called out specific Amazon policies and actions, such as donations made to climate-denying lawmakers and an AWS for Oil and Gas initiative that helps oil and gas companies expand and speed extraction.
The letter also wrote that the company's current sustainability pledge, Shipment Zero, did not go far enough. That commitment would make packages emit net zero carbon emissions and shipping emit 50 percent net zero carbon by 2030, but the letter writers said that relying on carbon offsets could displace indigenous communities in poorly thought out forest-preservation schemes and would do nothing to reduce air pollution.
"Amazon's Shipment Zero announcement is a first step, and it showed the positive impact that employee pressure can have," Principal User Experience Designer and letter signer Maren Costa said in the press release. "We all—individuals, corporations, governments—simply need to do more. Amazon needs a company-wide plan that matches the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, and Shipment Zero is not nearly enough."
In a response to the letter, Amazon told CNN it had 200 scientists, engineers and product designers working on sustainability.
"We have launched several major and impactful programs and are working hard to integrate this approach fully across Amazon," the company said in a statement. "Our dedication to ensuring that our customers understand how we are addressing environmental issues has been unwavering -- we look forward to launching more work and sharing more this year."
By Andrew D. Hwang
Can the Earth support this many people indefinitely? What will happen if we do nothing to manage future population growth and total resource use? These complex questions are ecological, political, ethical—and urgent. Simple mathematics shows why, shedding light on our species' ecological footprint.
The Mathematics of Population Growth
In an environment with unlimited natural resources, population size grows exponentially. One characteristic feature of exponential growth is the time a population takes to double in size.
Exponential growth tends to start slowly, sneaking up before ballooning in just a few doublings.
To illustrate, suppose Jeff Bezos agreed to give you one penny on Jan. 1, 2019, two pennies on Feb. 1, four on March 1, and so forth, with the payment doubling each month. How long would his $100 billion fortune uphold the contract? Take a moment to ponder and guess.
After one year, or 12 payments, your total contract receipts come to US$40.95, equivalent to a night at the movies. After two years, $167,772.15—substantial, but paltry to a billionaire. After three years, $687,194,767.35, or about one week of Bezos' 2017 income.
The 43rd payment, on July 1, 2022, just short of $88 billion and equal to all the preceding payments together (plus one penny), breaks the bank.
Real Population Growth
For real populations, doubling time is not constant. Humans reached 1 billion around 1800, a doubling time of about 300 years; 2 billion in 1927, a doubling time of 127 years; and 4 billion in 1974, a doubling time of 47 years.
On the other hand, world numbers are projected to reach 8 billion around 2023, a doubling time of 49 years, and barring the unforeseen, expected to level off around 10 to 12 billion by 2100.
This anticipated leveling off signals a harsh biological reality: Human population is being curtailed by the Earth's carrying capacity, the population at which premature death by starvation and disease balances the birth rate.
Humans are consuming and polluting resources—aquifers and ice caps, fertile soil, forests, fisheries and oceans—accumulated over geological time, tens of thousands of years or longer.
Wealthy countries consume out of proportion to their populations. As a fiscal analogy, we live as if our savings account balance were steady income.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank, the Earth has 1.9 hectares of land per person for growing food and textiles for clothing, supplying wood and absorbing waste. The average American uses about 9.7 hectares.
These data alone suggest the Earth can support at most one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living.
Water is vital. Biologically, an adult human needs less than 1 gallon of water daily. In 2010, the U.S. used 355 billion gallons of freshwater, over 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) per person per day. Half was used to generate electricity, one-third for irrigation, and roughly one-tenth for household use: flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns.
If 7.5 billion people consumed water at American levels, world usage would top 10,000 cubic kilometers per year. Total world supply—freshwater lakes and rivers—is about 91,000 cubic kilometers.
World Health Organization figures show 2.1 billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation. Even in industrialized countries, water sources can be contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer and insecticide runoff, heavy metals and fracking effluent.
Freedom to Choose
Though the detailed future of the human species is impossible to predict, basic facts are certain. Water and food are immediate human necessities. Doubling food production would defer the problems of present-day birth rates by at most a few decades. The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the "savings account" of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum.
The drive to reproduce is among the strongest desires, both for couples and for societies. How will humans reshape one of our most cherished expectations—"Be fruitful and multiply"—in the span of one generation? What will happen if present-day birth rates continue?
We cannot wish natural resources into existence. Couples, however, have the freedom to choose how many children to have. Improvements in women's rights, education and self-determination generally lead to lower birth rates.
As a mathematician, I believe reducing birth rates substantially is our best prospect for raising global standards of living. As a citizen, I believe nudging human behavior, by encouraging smaller families, is our most humane hope.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.
Bill Maher is sick of billionaires' obsession with Mars, more like "Mars-a-Lago," he said.
In a new animation produced by ATTN:, the popular talk show host of Real Time, discusses the perils of our planet, including how "climate change is killing us."
He talks about Trump's new budget proposal, which slashes funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by nearly a third, from $8.2 billion to $5.65 billion. It's the agency "which protects our water, our air and the future of our planet," as Maher puts it.Meanwhile, Trump signed a bill in March calling for a mission to Mars by 2033. NASA estimates the trip will cost $450 billion. Citing initiatives by Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Tesla's Elon Musk, Maher said these missions are a waste of time. Mars is not habitable nor is it economically feasible.
Maher suggests that instead of exploring Mars, we should explore the facts. He explains how environmental policies have been proven to work and can completely reverse the effects of climate change. But, cutting them will get us nowhere, except to maybe the "airless, lifeless, freezing sh*thole" which we seem so preoccupied with getting to, even though it would take about eight months to get there by spaceship and there's no guarantee humans would survive. After all, the temperature at night on Mars "runs a balmy minus 25 to a quite chilling 76 below."
Maher said we should focus our budget on the planet we know we can live on: "Earth: You are Here. You are Home."
As President-elect Donald Trump's climate-skeptic/pro-fossil fuels cabinet takes shape, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, Alibaba founder Jack Ma and other very wealthy and very influential individuals have launched a $1 billion fund dedicated to clean energy innovation.
Launching $1 billion investment fund for next generation energy technologies https://t.co/eWGZrcflaZ @btenergy… https://t.co/2ktjMKByvG— Richard Branson (@Richard Branson)1481555720.0
"Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable and emissions-free energy to the world," Gates said in a statement.
The Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund (BEV) will focus on five key areas that are the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings.
"Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we're open-minded to," Gates, who serves as BEV chairman, told Quartz.
I discuss with @qz a major announcement for @btenergy and our vision for the future... https://t.co/VJMZypx0X3— Bill Gates (@Bill Gates)1481504460.0
The fund, which has a 20-year duration, seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions facing our warming planet:
- How can we deliver reliable, affordable zero-carbon electricity to the world?
- How can we get around our communities and the world without emitting carbon?
- How can we feed the planet without contributing to climate change?
- How can we make everything we use without emitting greenhouse gases?
- How can we eliminate emissions from our homes, offices, hospitals, and schools?
Gates and his BEV co-directors—Alibaba's Ma, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, former energy hedge fund manager John Arnold and SAP cofounder Hasso Plattner—have a combined net worth of nearly $170 billion, according to estimates from Bloomberg and Forbes.
"Too often, we let what we think we know limit what is possible," Ma said in a statement. "When it comes to energy, people say you cannot make money, meet demand and also benefit the environment. But we can and we will."
Other BEV investors are some of the world's richest and most powerful, such as Richard Branson of Virgin Group Ltd., billionaire natural gas trader John Arnold, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Kingdom Holding, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals, Xavier Niel of Iliad Group, Masayoshi Son of SoftBank, and Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi of SOHO China.
"The launch of the fund, a year after the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, comes at an important time as we try to accelerate the uptake of clean energy throughout the world," Virgin's Branson wrote in a company blog post. "The sustainable energy revolution is well underway, but we need new tools and solutions to help us reduce our carbon output and continue moving in the right direction."
"Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a wonderful way to expand this effort," Branson added.
Quartz writes that the BEV will likely expand its war chest as more like-minded backers hop onboard:
"The fund, which won't charge investors management fees beyond its operating costs, will likely start with a temporary office in the heart of the US venture capital industry on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. It's expected that the size of the initial fund will increase, with more investors coming on board, and it's possible that Breakthrough Energy Ventures eventually launches additional funds."
BEV will likely focus on energy storage technology for the first wave of investments, since improvements in renewable energy storage, such as batteries, expedite a transition to sustainable energy.
Gates first announced his intention to launch the fund at the Paris climate talks last year. The world's richest man and renowned philanthropist told Quartz that he is surprised that clean-energy innovation is not often mentioned as an option to fight climate change.
"All of that takes place just as a normal market mechanism as you replace energy sources with other ways to do it," Gates explained.
This week, a group of top tech executives from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and more will reportedly meet with the president-elect at the so-called " tech summit."
"The dialogue with the new administration as it comes in about how they see energy research will be important," Gates told Quartz. "The general idea that research is a good deal fortunately is not a partisan thing."
Watch Gates talk about the importance of energy innovation and investment here: