Bezos Earth Fund Awards Rocky Mountain Institute $10M

Funding will allow the Rocky Mountain Institute to further catalyze significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. buildings and heavy industry.

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has received a $10 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to help significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in both U.S. buildings and in energy-intensive industrial and transport sectors. RMI welcomes this grant as part of the substantial commitment by the Bezos Earth Fund to support catalytic civil society action and address the global climate emergency.

“Addressing the climate crisis can start with the places we hold most dear — the buildings where we live and work—while also decarbonizing the way we produce and transport the materials that are the foundation of those buildings, as well as the backbone of our global economy, like steel and cement,” said RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst. “The Bezos Earth Fund commitment is an important catalyst to accelerating the impact needed to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2030.”

RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings campaign will receive $8 million to reduce GHG emissions from homes, commercial structures, and other buildings, enabling RMI to increase its current work with a coalition of partners in key states. The project will focus on making all U.S. buildings carbon-free by 2040 by advocating for all-electric new construction and retrofitting existing homes and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

In addition, $2 million will allow RMI and its partners to kickstart efforts via the Mission Possible Partnership, aimed at supercharging industrial decarbonization over the next 10 years. This work will focus on scaling up high-ambition, net-zero initiatives across the energy-intensive global industries representing 30% of global emissions: aviation, shipping, heavy road transport, aluminum, steel, chemical, and cement.

The buildings sector is responsible for 35% of the United States’ total carbon emissions and construction of buildings is a $1 trillion per year industry. Transforming this sector will require additional support from governments, NGOs, and the private sector. This grant is an important catalyst that ensures RMI can build upon its significant work currently underway to decarbonize the U.S. building stock by spurring all-electric, efficient, and grid-interactive buildings while working with states, industry, and multi-family affordable housing owners to retrofit both residential and commercial buildings.

The Mission Possible Partnership represents a step-change in ambition for industrial decarbonization. The Partnership orchestrates global platforms that allow leading industrial companies, their customers, suppliers, and capital providers to chart a common course to net-zero transformation as well as the commitments needed to make that a reality. Support from the Bezos Earth Fund provides a substantial boost for this new initiative at a critical time for engaging global industries in the low-carbon transition.

Other recipients of the Bezos Earth Fund are the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Eden Reforestation Projects, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.

Bezos Earth Fund
(Photo: Amazon)

“I’ve spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who’ve made it their life’s work to fight climate change and its impact on communities around the world,” Bezos said in an Instagram post announcing the grant recipients. “I’m inspired by what they’re doing, and excited to help them scale. Today, I’m pleased to announce the first Bezos Earth Fund recipients—16 organizations working on innovative, ambitious, and needle-moving solutions. This $791 million in donations is just the beginning of my $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and others. We can all protect Earth’s future by taking bold action now.

RMI is an independent nonprofit that transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, CO; New York City; the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, DC; and Beijing.

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