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COP26: Jeff Bezos inspired by space jaunt to pledge $2 billion to save the planet

The ex-Amazon CEO decided to bump his total climate funding commitment to $3 billion after heading to space with Blue Origin.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos addresses world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

This story is part of CNET Zero, a series that chronicles the impact of climate change and explores what's being done about the problem.

Former Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos has been inspired to provide an additional $2 billion to conservation efforts through the Bezos Earth Fund after his journey into space this summer.

Bezos made the announcement on Tuesday at COP26, the UN climate summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. The new pledge will be put toward landscape restoration and food systems transformation, and it brings his total commitment to $3 billion, following a separate $1 billion pledge he made in September.

His new pledge arrives at a crucial moment in the fight against the climate crisis, when leaders from around the world are gathering to discuss plans to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Climate change is making extreme weather events more common, and COP26 is being hailed as the last hope in humanity's efforts to prevent it from getting worse.

In a speech to world leaders, Bezos described how his journey to the edge of space on Blue Origin's first crewed flight in July compelled him to do more to protect the environment.

"I was told seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you view the world, but I was not prepared for just how much that would be true," he said. "Looking back at the Earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and so fragile."

It has been reported that, as did many of the VIPs and dignitaries at COP26, Bezos flew to Glasgow aboard a private jet. Representatives for Bezos didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.