Microsoft has set itself the ambitious goal of reducing and, ultimately, erasing its carbon footprint.
By 2030 the company says it will be carbon negative, and by 2050 it will have removed “all the carbon” the company has emitted since it was founded in 1975. This includes emissions made either directly or by electrical consumption.
With this aggressive timeline the software giant has one-upped its rival Amazon, which announced in 2019 that it would be carbon neutral by 2040.
“When it comes to carbon, neutrality is not enough,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a blog.
“The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.”
Microsoft also announced the launch of a billion dollar (£765 million) climate innovation fund to develop negative emissions technologies. It will also increase its internal carbon fee, which has been in place since 2012.
The company said that by 2025 it would shift to 100% supply of renewable energy, which would see its data centres and other facilities go green. It also said it would electrify its global campus operations vehicle fleet by 2030.
It will also pursue International Living Future Institute Zero Carbon certification and LEED Platinum certification for its Silicon Valley Campus and Puget Sound Campus Modernization projects.
Chief executive Satya Nadella said: “We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change.”
If global temperatures continued to rise unchecked “the results will be devastating”, he added.
- Privacy Rights Groups Slam Police Scotland Cyber Kiosk Roll-out
- UK Government Invests £4 Million in the Creation of AI Warships
- SHE Software Receives £1.4M R&D Grant from Scottish Enterprise
Microsoft has put forward another range of ways for it to reach its carbon removal goals such as seeding new forests, soil carbon sequestration, direct air capture and bio-energy with carbon-capture.
Microsoft’s announcement has been welcomed by environmentalists; however, some are saying that the company needs to also address its relationships with oil and gas companies due to the polluting nature of fossil fuel extraction.
Senior Greenpeace campaigner Elizabeth Jardim, said: “While there is a lot to celebrate in Microsoft’s announcement, a gaping hole remains unaddressed: Microsoft’s expanding efforts to help fossil fuel companies drill more oil and gas with machine-learning and other AI technologies.”
In 2017, the company announced a multi-year deal to provide cloud services to Chevron Corp. However, Microsoft affirmed it commitment to working with oil and gas companies in its blog.
“It’s imperative that we enable energy companies to transition, including to renewable energy and to the development and use of negative emission technologies like carbon capture and storage and direct air capture,” Microsoft said.