Amazon unveils climate plan, aims to advance Paris goals

Jeff Bezos just announced an ambitious climate pledge that aims to make Amazon carbon neutral by 2040

Amazon orders 100,000 Rivian electric vans, will hit the road in 2021

To help get there, Amazon has placed an order of 100,000 electric vehicles from a startup it has backed, Rivian Automotive Inc.

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos pledged Thursday the United States technology and retail giant would become carbon neutral by 2040 and encourage other firms to do the same, in a bid to help meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years early.

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.

Bold steps from big companies are needed in order to boost the development of new technologies and industries that will support a low carbon economy, believes Christiana Figueres, the UN's former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism.

Bezos said Amazon will meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of schedule.

In addition, Amazon is pledging to make the company's infrastructure run on 80 percent renewable energies, such as wind and solar, by 2024 and 100 percent by 2040.

Additionally, more than 1,000 Amazon employees have said they plan to walk out on September 20 as part of the Global Climate Strike, of which Google and Microsoft employees also plan to participate.

"We want to use our scope and our scale to lead the way", Bezos told a news conference in the USA capital, aiming to shake off the firm's reputation as a laggard on environmental issues.

Rivian has two electric vehicles scheduled for release in 2021, a pickup truck, the R1T, and an SUV, the R1S. The company is also inviting other companies to sign onto the pledge.

Amazon and Ford Motor Co are among the investors in Rivian.

Prototypes of Rivian's electric vans should start hitting the road next year, and the first production vehicles will be hitting Amazon delivery routes in 2020. A representative confirmed with Roadshow this will not be a new vehicle for the public, but a dedicated electric delivery van for the online retailer.

Reaching the net zero carbon emission goal means Amazon can technically still rely on fossil fuels by 2040 -as long as the company is offsetting the carbon emission in other ways. "To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won't do that", Bezos said. "Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we'll be in the streets to continue the fight for a livable future".

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