Activists Challenge Amazon over Planned Use of Fossil Fuels at Day 1 Building


Key Takeaways:

– Environmental activists from the Troublemakers group blocked entrances to Amazon’s Day 1 building in Seattle
– The protestors condemned Amazon’s plans to use natural gas from a new pipeline in Oregon
– Amazon’s carbon imprint has amplified by 39% since its Climate Pledge in 2019 Citing hypocrisy, critics accuse Amazon of greenwashing with their carbon-neutral goals
– Amazon counter-argues highlighting its efforts in renewable energy and electric vehicle fleet

On March 27, 2024, a host of environmental activists disrupted daily operations at Amazon’s Day 1 building in Seattle. The demonstration was orchestrated by a Washington-based collective known as the Troublemakers. Their main contention: Amazon’s decision to employ natural gas drawn from a new pipeline being set up in Oregon.

>A Bold Stand Against Amazon

The Troublemakers’ main objective was to compel Amazon to abandon its plan of procurement of natural gas from the newly constructed pipeline in Oregon. Evidently, the natural gas was to power three state-based data centers. Protest organizer, Emily Johnston, accused Amazon of hypocrisy, highlighting that the company had claimed proactive participation in fossil fuel expansion.

Amazon, widely recognized for multiple environmental initiatives, announced its intention to be wholly carbon-neutral by 2040 at its Climate Pledge. Paradoxically, the company’s carbon footprint has reportedly skyrocketed by 39% since then. Johnston informed that a total of around 50-60 people participated in the protest, blocking building entrances with banners and bicycles.

>Last Week’s Letter to Amazon

The Troublemakers rolled out communication to Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO last week. The open letter urged Jassy to renege on plans to utilize the GTN Xpress gas pipeline and rather use the fuel for its data centers housing powerful computers crucial to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The petition was endorsed by 19 other organizations, including Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

The gas would be accessed through the GTN Xpress pipeline expansion, a move strongly opposed by regional leaders and environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, Amazon also allegedly lobbied against Oregon legislation designed to implement clean energy regulations for data centers, leading to its failure.

>Amazon’s Assertion on Renewable Commitment

Responding to the protestors, Amazon’s spokesperson, Lisa Levandowski, remarked, “Amazon is the foremost corporate buyer of renewable energy worldwide. We match over 90% of the electricity our operations use with renewable energy and have deployed the largest fleet of electric vehicles with more than 10,000 on the road today.” Besides, Amazon aims to realize its objective of using entirely clean power by next year – ahead of its original timeline by five years.

However, the company’s commitment doesn’t imply constant reliance on clean energy sources. As Charley Daitch, the former AWS director of energy and water strategy declared, Amazon’s use of natural gas in Oregon to power fuel cells is a temporary arrangement.

Protestors are not satisfied with this explanation and rebuke Amazon for driving a project that would increase the methane leaked into the atmosphere.

>Continued Protests and Pressure on Amazon

Amazon has faced a series of environmental protests – two significant instances from the last year include messages spray-painted on the roads adjacent to Amazon headquarters and an employee walkout organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

Emily Johnston of the Troublemakers asserted that it is essential to keep big polluters like Amazon accountable. With the recent protest, she hopes to shed more light on Amazon’s actions and inconsistencies with its environmental promise.

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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