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Despite “Climate Pledge” Amazon Profits from Climate Destruction 

Greenpeace USA delivers over 65,650 petition signatures to demand Amazon protect its workers and our planet

by Valentina Stackl

May 27, 2020

Amazon is profiting off the climate crisis with partnerships with BP and other major oil companies, providing powerful machine learning tools to help in the transport, refining, and sale of oil and gas.

© Marcus Donner / Greenpeace

May 27th, 2020. Seattle, Washington. As Amazon directors and shareowners gather online for Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting today, Greenpeace USA virtually delivered over 65,650 petition signatures to demand Amazon protect its workers and our planet [1]. 

Today’s delivery follows a report published last week by Greenpeace USA, Oil in the Cloud: How Tech Companies are Helping Big Oil Profit from Climate Destruction [2], which profiles how Amazon, Microsoft, and Google all have lucrative deals with fossil fuel companies to help boost oil and gas production and lower costs, despite the tech companies’ own climate goals. In response to the report and mounting concern from employees, Google announced it will no longer offer new artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning contracts for upstream oil and gas extraction. Amazon however, has made no commitment to end AI offerings which boost oil and gas production [3].

Elizabeth Jardim, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner: 

“Amazon is profiting off the climate crisis with partnerships with BP and other major oil companies, providing powerful machine learning tools to help in the transport, refining, and sale of oil and gas. As long as Amazon is helping oil and gas firms boost production, the company can never achieve its carbon neutral goal. 

“Amazon must quickly follow Google’s lead with a commitment to no longer offer new AI solutions to oil and gas firms, and go beyond Google’s commitment by phasing out existing contracts.” 

Greenpeace also delivered petitions that called on Amazon to do more to protect its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to stop retaliating against workers who have spoken out [4].

Report findings:

Greenpeace examined 14 contracts between Amazon, Google, and Microsoft with major oil and gas companies. The report exposes how the world’s biggest cloud companies are helping oil corporations discover, extract, refine, and distribute oil and gas. 

Despite rebranding its Oil and Gas website to target the more palatable “Energy Sector”, Amazon continues to market its services to oil and gas firms to boost production and reduce costs [5]. These contracts showcase an ongoing contradiction for Amazon: on the one hand announcing its Climate Pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040, while on the other offering an ongoing lifeline to oil and gas companies. In addition to ending these contracts, Amazon must do more to protect warehouse and distribution workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stop retaliating against employees for speaking out about these problems.

Today’s virtual Amazon shareholder meeting, one of many moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shows how increasingly reliant we all are on major tech firms. With the recent oil price crash and reduced global demand, the near-term outlook for the oil and gas industry is bleak. These AI partnerships represent a critical toolkit that fossil fuel companies will use to bounce back from this downturn. The science is clear that the continued expansion of oil and gas production is placing our climate goals out of reach. We must implement a managed decline for the fossil fuel industry, while rapidly deploying clean energy solutions. Such a plan must be centered around strong, just transition policies to ensure that workers and communities are left better off through the energy transition [6].

ENDS

Notes:

[1] Images of the petition delivery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/albums/72157714468499227/with/49938971533/ 

[2] The full report: Oil in the Cloud: How Tech Companies are Helping Big Oil Profit from Climate Destruction https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/reports/oil-in-the-cloud/

[3] Amazon’s position on climate change and the oil and gas sector: https://www.aboutamazon.com/our-company/our-positions 

[4] Petition calling on Amazon to do more to protect its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to stop retaliating against workers who have spoken out: https://engage.us.greenpeace.org/onlineactions/N3ozZM5pKEOZo0WpvCTItw2

[5] Amazon’s resources for “Energy” customers: https://aws.amazon.com/energy/resources/?nc=sn&loc=4

[6] Greenpeace petition to tell tech companies to end big oil contracts is available here: https://engage.us.greenpeace.org/onlineactions/SlFqxlUJqUKwnfy6P2H2YA2

 

Contact: 

Valentina Stackl, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (734) 276-6260, [email protected]

Valentina Stackl

By Valentina Stackl

Valentina Stackl is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural communications specialist and storyteller. As Senior Communications Officer, Valentina works on Democracy (including criminalization of protest) and Climate for media, storytelling, and other communications projects.

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