RELEASE: Gift from Bezos Earth Fund Will Support Two Major Climate Initiatives at WRI
November 15, 2020
WASHINGTON (November 16, 2020) — WRI is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive a grant from the Bezos Earth Fund for two major initiatives in support of global climate action. WRI will use this grant to develop a satellite-based monitoring system to advance natural climate solutions around the world. The system will monitor carbon emissions and capture potentially harmful changes to the world’s forests, grasslands, wetlands, farms, and other critical areas. The grant will also be used to spur the electrification of U.S. school buses by 2030—over 450,000 vehicles—bringing cleaner air and fewer carbon emissions to communities across the country.
The total gift to WRI is $100 million over 5 years, enabling the institute to work with partners to scale its work and impact globally.
“We are grateful to the Bezos Earth Fund for this very generous gift to advance two game-changing climate initiatives at a time when they are urgently needed,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute. “Building on our expertise and bringing together many partners, we will use these resources to accelerate transformative shifts in monitoring land use and carbon emissions and electrifying vehicles. These initiatives will cut emissions, create a healthier environment, spur economic opportunities, and improve the lives of millions of people in the United States and around the world.”
For the first initiative, WRI will work with partners to create an online system that leverages satellites and other cutting-edge technologies to improve the measurement and monitoring of changes in land use and associated carbon emissions. This project builds on existing WRI-led digital platforms, such as Global Forest Watch and Resource Watch. The system will provide communities, governments, investors, non-government organizations, and others with high-quality data to help them pursue strategies for natural solutions that address the climate crisis. These solutions will, in turn, create millions of jobs, support economic recovery, improve equity, and enhance resilience.
For the second initiative, WRI will work with a broad set of stakeholders to spur the electrification of U.S. school buses – over 450,000 in total. WRI will partner with local organizations with a history of working on transportation issues in the United States to shift the fleet to electric school buses. WRI will draw on its experience working on sustainable transportation and urban design around the world for over 20 years, as well as its work on clean energy infrastructure in the United States. Shifting to electric buses powered by clean energy will bring many benefits to society, including creating jobs, cutting emissions, and reducing air pollution, which disproportionately affects poor communities and communities of color. In addition, this initiative will expand infrastructure to increase the uptake of electric vehicles nationwide.
WRI will leverage this gift with current and future grants to ensure that these efforts complement existing projects, consistent with WRI’s global mission. Climate change is an urgent and daunting challenge, and yet less than 2 percent of global philanthropic gifts are directed to address to the climate crisis. This grant and those to other groups from the Bezos Earth Fund will accelerate and expand solutions to tackle the climate crisis. WRI is one of 16 groups that have received funds, totaling $791 million, from the Bezos Earth Fund.
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. Its more than 1,200 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. Learn: www.wri.org Follow: @WorldResources