The founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos has pledged $1 billion to help build the Great Green Wall reforestation project across Africa.
Mr Bezos, who is one of the world’s richest business leaders, announced his donation at a meeting with the Prince of Wales, the President of France Emmanuel Macron, and the President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Ghazouani at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. President Macron personally thanked the Prince of Wales for endorsing the project:
“We went to look for Prince Charles and it was Prince Charles who went to look for Jeff Bezos,”
As a result, according to President Macron, almost half the required amount of funds have now been raised to make the Great Green Wall a reality with around $19 billion already pledged.
The Great Green Wall was launched in 2017. It is a project to combat climate change in Africa by planting a massive wall of twenty million trees and greenery stretching from Senegal on the west coast across eleven countries to Djibouti in the west. This green belt will restore 8,000 kilometers of savannah along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. It will create the largest living forest on earth.
Already some 15 million hectares in Ethiopia have been planted with trees, while in Senegal around 12 million drought-resistant trees have been planted in less than a decade. The Great Green Wall is expected to sequester 250 megatonnes of carbon while improving biodiversity and the greening of some 100 million hectares of semi-desert land. It is also expected to create up to ten million jobs across Africa.
The progress of the wall will be tracked by some of the more than 160 satellites which are currently orbiting the continent measuring different climate indicators. These satellites will help identify and stop illegal logging and the illicit trade in wildlife, making satellites a vital tool in Africa’s fight against climate change.
The COP26 Summit in Glasgow is bringing together more than 25,000 delegates and lobby groups to find ways of restricting global warming to a 1.5% increase by moving away from coal and carbon-based energy sources towards renewable sources of energy like solar and wind.
At the opening session the Prince of Wales urged business leaders to spend trillions of dollars to help solve the growing crisis:
“The scale and scope of the threat we face calls for a global, systems-level solution, based on radically transforming our current fossil fuelled-based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.
“We need a vast military-style campaign to marshall the strength of the global private sector –it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition”.
The Prince of Wales reached out to Jeff Bezos as one of the richest business leaders in the global private sector and the Bezos Earth Fund is allocating more than $7 billion in grants over the next decade to fight climate change and protect the environment.
COP26 was also addressed by the veteran naturist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough who told the assembled world leaders that the motivation for tackling the climate crisis should “not be fear, but hope” and there is every reason to believe that the answer can be yes”.