Prof. Aseem Prakash on Forbes, "Including Tree Equity In The Climate Pledge: Here’s How Amazon Can Help Address The Heat Island Effect"

Prof. Aseem Prakash and colleague Prof. Nives Dolšak on Forbes web site discussing how Amazon's commitment to climate should include a pledge for more tree resources in immediate areas of its facilities:

As a widely recognized climate leader, Amazon can play a role in improving urban resilience to extreme heat events. We suggest that “tree equity”, an important strategy to address urban heat waves, should become a part of the revised climate pledge.

In 2019, Amazon launched the flagship initiative, the Climate Pledge, and boldly declared that it would pursue aggressive climate goals, irrespective of government action. Amazon has supported the Pledge in other ways as well. It has purchased the rights to rename Seattle’s Key Arena as the Climate Pledge Arena and created the $2billion Climate Pledge Fund to support low carbon technologies. Finally, Amazon now sell more than 25,000 products that have the Climate Pledge Friendly label.

American Forests provides scores for census blocks on “Tree Equity”, which takes into account ecological and socio-economic variables. Suppose Amazon were to announce that its Climate Pledge will obligate signatories to correct tree inequity in census blocks where their facilities are located. Eventually, Amazon (and the other Climate Pledge signatories) could scale up their efforts to ZIP codes and counties. The climate crisis requires an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. While governments must do their part, firms and civil society should mobilize as well. Tree equity is one subject where local, decentralized climate action is possible and results visible in the short run. Moreover, social mobilization on this issue could create the platform for addressing other dimensions of climate justice.

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