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COP26: Bezos pledges $2bn for restoring nature

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He grasped nature’s fragility when he travelled into space, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, and now he has pledged $2bn (£1.5bn) to restoring it.

The money from the Bezos Earth Fund will go to restoring landscapes and transforming food systems, he told the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

“In too many parts of the world, nature is already flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source,” he said.

The fund plans to spend $10bn fighting climate change overall.

In Glasgow the founder of the world’s biggest online retailer described the experience of travelling on his rocket ship, New Shepard, in July as a revelation of Earth’s vulnerability.

“I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens from which you view the world but I was not prepared for just how much that would be true,” he said.

Looking back at Earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and so fragile. Now, in this critical year and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.”

In September, the Bezos Earth Fund pledged $1bn towards conserving nature and indigenous peoples and cultures.

Announcing the follow-up $2bn pledge on Tuesday, Mr Bezos said that two thirds of Africa’s productive land was degraded but this could be reversed.

“Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth, while also sequestering carbon,” he told COP26.

As well as Mr Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk are building up space businesses.

Last month, Prince William suggested entrepreneurs should focus on saving Earth rather than engaging in space tourism.

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