Jeff Bezos misses the mark, Season Three previews, and the Climate Pledge revisited.
Jeff Bezos Misses The Mark, Season Three Previews, and The Climate Pledge Revisited
WELCOME TO SEASON THREE!
Hey, everybody. Hope you enjoyed the replays of some of our most popular episodes while we were away on assignment. Did you miss us as much as we missed you? Because we missed you.
Now we’re back and we’re even more excited about Season three of The Climate Daily. While we were on assignment, we connected with some fantastic climate change warriors and had some truly inspiring conversations with them.
We’re super excited to share those with you all in our new, other, podcast series, “The Climate Conversations,” debuting later this month! The dozens of folks we met and interviewed are some of the most dynamic, forward-thinking and brilliant people in the climate change space today.
We’ve been all over the planet virtually, scouring the Earth for fantastic climate fighters willing to share their knowledge, strength, hope and wisdom with us. Like the Vikings—that’s what we affectionately call the five Nordic nations: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Many of you are keenly aware of Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, but what you may not know is she’s part of a long tradition of Viking climate change warriors. And we’re going to hip you to that long line.
MORE SEASON THREE PREVIEWS
Continuing on a theme, we discovered how long and deeply these countries have been on the cutting edge of fighting climate change. We sat down with five Viking ambassadors and learned why their countries are on the forefront of climate change “MAR”: mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies, and how their expertise is helping shape policies at the state and county level here in the United States.
We sat down with one of America’s Climate Mayors—a member of a coalition of over 400 mayors from small towns and grand metropolises who are all committed to creating M.A.R. strategies for their citizens. They believe it’s their duty to help the people they serve thrive in the era of climate change.
We also had the great privilege of meeting two TEEN green activists—Canada’s Kiran Neet of Vancouver’s Sustainabiliteens, and Lucy Keifer, a co-founder of the LaCrescenta Valley High School branch of Sunrise Movement in LaCrescenta, CA. And on the other side of the chronological spectrum, GASP 4 Change! out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. These ladies call their group Grandmothers for Saving the Planet.
Dr. Crystal Upperman is a name that will soon be a household word. Her work examining the effects of a warming climate from human-made pollutants on respiratory health is ground-breaking. And we’ll share conversations with several artists who are helping us all understand the effect climate change is having on all of us through incandescent artistic expression.
And there may be some occasional commentary thrown in, too.
JEFF BEZOS MISSED THE MARK
While we were away on assignment, a couple of climate change-related events occurred—major flooding in European countries of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy, killing over 200 people, leaving tens of thousands more homeless while costing billions of dollars in damage. Depending upon the location, more rain fell per hour than in an average month. Inconceivable.
China too suffered massive flooding from climate change-induced rains, also of biblical proportions. At least 100 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced. Again, billions of dollars in real estate, personal property and infrastructure was wiped out. Oh and a couple of wildfires broke out, too.
All this as backdrop to the sub-orbital space flight of billionaire Jeff Bezos, millionaire brother Mark Bezos, oldest space venturer/aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and youngest, son-of-a-millionaire Oliver Daemen.
Bezos often told reporters he couldn’t wait to launch into Space because he’d heard that it changes one’s life. Upon his return to Earth, Bezos linked the Blue Origin flight to fighting climate change. He said, “When you look at the planet, there are no borders. It’s one planet, and we share it and it’s fragile.”
He also said, “We live on this beautiful planet. We have to build a road to Space so that our kids and their kids can build a future.” Really? That’s his takeaway? Leave the planet to save the planet?
Just as disappointing was the lack of vision displayed by Oliver Daeman, the Dutch 18-year-old, whose most newsworthy comment post-space flight was that flying with a billionaire was super fun and “down to earth, as funny as that may sound.”
At just 18-years old, Daeman, more than any other person aboard that ship, will be most affected by climate change. That’s because the entire rest of his presumably long life will be living in the thick of it. For that you’d think he’d be more in tune to his reality. But, let’s cut Daeman some slack. After all he’s only 18. His prefrontal cortex has yet to fully attach to the rest of his brain, so things like executive function and long-range thinking are still 8-12 years away for him.
But billionaire Bezos is 57. He’s a grown-ass man with the means and opportunity to use his technology to make the grand statement in defense of all humanity in the midst of this climate crisis. What about motive? Not what he wants you to think it is.
You see Bezos at first told reporters he’d wanted to go to Space since a teenager, but that he knew his path there would be to become an entrepreneur and to buy his way up. Post-flight, Bezos then told reporters the journey had reinforced his commitment to solving climate change by investing in space technologies that could help future generations. And therein lies his true motive. The trip reinforced for him the way to fight climate change was to build technology that, others who would have the means to pay him to use, would pay him to use.
That’s as tone deaf as when he thanked all his Amazon employees and customers for paying for his voyage. That’s as tone deaf as Bezos live-streaming to the world himself and the others hootin’ and hollerin’ and snatchin’ Skittles from mid-air instead of turning the cameras back at Earth and live-streaming to the world what climate change hath wrought on a global scale: unprecedented flooding and monstrous forest fires scorching over a million acres across the United States, Canada, Russia, Greece and Turkey, all of it visible from the largest windows ever installed on a spacecraft.
Bezos missed the chance to make a real commitment for using his billions to quash climate change based upon what he saw up there. Instead he doubled down on his commitment to exclaim how cool weightlessness felt. Bezos made it to Space, but did he rise to the moment? Did he capture the world’s moral high ground? Nah. All he caught was some sweetly tart candy from a single-use plastic bag in his mouth. Jeff Bezos went to Space and ultimately came back an unchanged man.
And that’s why, in the words of NASA’s Apollo astronauts of yore, Jeff Bezos screwed the pooch.
THE CLIMATE PLEDGE REVISITED
Speaking of redemption, Jeff Bezo’s Amazon has gotten 118 other companies—small and multinational in scale, to sign The Climate Pledge. We at The Climate Daily reported on this this past spring. Now they’ve come out with some slick ads online and on TV.
They feature a veritable Bennetton’s rainbow of kids and teenagers from all around the globe challenging world CEOs to take action on behalf of the planet and the future. Kids say things like, “You’re making me worry about my grandkids, and I don’t even have children yet,” and “go all electric faster, I dare you,” and “I’m only six. You figure it out.”
According to its website, The Climate Pledge “is a call to businesses and organizations to take collective action against the world’s greatest crisis and to work together to build a safe and healthy planet for the next generations.” Its mission is for all signers of the pledge to achieve the Paris Agreement goals to achieve net-zero by 2040 instead of 2050.
But how? And why does it matter to us? Well if you believe in the adage, “What gets measured gets done” then you’ll love the fact that The Climate Pledge measures success three ways: regular reporting, carbon elimination and credible offsets. That means companies are supposed to consistently report their greenhouse gas emissions; implement and maintain decarbonization strategies in line with (but more quickly and aggressively than) the Paris Agreement standards through innovation, change, efficiencies and the use of renewable energy. Finally, companies must take action to neutralize any remaining emission with other quantifiable, permanent and socially beneficial offsets to bring the organization to net-zero by 2040.
How’s it going? As somebody smarter than I am once said, “It’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint.” A lot of companies are still treating getting to net-zero like it’s a marathon. Well it’s less than six months old, this Climate Pledge, so I say give it another year, and TCD will revisit.
DEEPER DIVE: The Climate Pledge