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Microsoft’s carbon negative pledge to remove historical emissions

18/01/2020
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Microsoft have announced plans to eliminate all carbon emissions that the company has emitted since it was founded in 1975.

Microsoft President Brad Smith, CFO Amy Hood and CEO Satya Nadella announced the firm's plans to remove all carbon emissions created by the company since 1975
(Image via Microsoft)

Chief Executive Satya Nadella made the pledge, saying that the company aimed to achieve this goal by 2050. The announcement was further backed up in a blog post by company President Brad Smith.

“When it comes to carbon, neutrality is not enough,” he wrote. 

To achieve this, Microsoft have a staged approach which involves becoming carbon negative by 2030 - removing more carbon from the environment than they emit, “either directly or by electrical consumption”. 

Also announced was a $1 billion climate innovation fund to accelerate carbon reduction, capture and removal technologies. 

“While we at Microsoft have worked hard to be “carbon neutral” since 2012, our recent work has led us to conclude that this is an area where we’re far better served by humility than pride. And we believe this is true not only for ourselves, but for every business and organization on the planet.”

The announcement puts Microsoft at the forefront of major technology companies adapting their work to target environmental concerns. The company already implemented an internal carbon fee that charged business divisions responsible for emissions created by direct operations and any related to electricity and power consumption. This will now be extended to also cover operations generated by the Microsoft’s supply and value chains. 

The fees will be reinvested in carbon offsetting procedures, and is said to account for 12 million metric tons of carbon debt. 

Company President Brad Smith outlined Microsoft's plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and completely remove all emissions created by Microsoft by 2050
(Image via Microsoft)

Other methods Microsoft plans to implement include 

  • Seeding new forests and expanding existing ones
  • Soil carbon sequestration - a process of putting carbon back into the ground. This could be achieved by adding microbes and nutrients to parched earth, which should have the added benefits of making the soil more fertile and less susceptible to erosion
  • Direct air capture - sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, possibly by using large fans to move air through a filter that can remove the gas
  • Bio-energy with carbon capture - growing crops and then capturing the CO2 they emit when, for example, they are burned to produce heat or fermented to make fuels such as bioethanol. Negative emissions become possible if the amount of CO2 stored as a result is greater than that emitted during production, transport and use

They also say they intend for their data centres and other facilities to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Microsoft will begin implementing many of these immediately - but the key factors will be the development of new carbon capture and storage technologies which, as Smith says “doesn’t fully exist today.”

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Recent Comments
I just LOVE CARBON !!! Our whole Earth is based on CARBON. Micro-Gates and all Silicons are kissing Liberals' backsides for a reason: to CONTROL our wonderful Oil & Gas industry, and consequently, all our ECONOMY. You are welcome to include my name and pic, as a Carbon-Footprint lover. PS. I drive (2) cars, a Mercedes E550C and a Corvette, BOTH with large V-8 Engines.
ANDRE GURSES, 22 January 2020
Companies should set more realistic goals instead of ambitious targets which are decades into the future
James Williamson , 29 January 2020
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Microsoft’s carbon negative pledge to remove historical emissions - Time to read 3 min
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