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Microsoft cut carbon emissions 6% last year

2021-01-28 19:05 by
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One year after pledging to remove all of its historic and future planet-heating emissions within a few decades, Microsoft says it has already slashed its carbon footprint by 6 percent. It's an incremental change that's in line with what's needed globally to address the climate crisis, but there is a whole lot of work left for Microsoft to do.

To curb its emissions, Microsoft is investing in electric vehicles, battery systems to replace diesel generators used to back up its data centers, and renewable power. Since July, the company has levied an internal carbon tax on emissions created by its suppliers and by its customers' use of its products, dubbed "scope 3 emissions" by those who tally carbon footprints. Microsoft was already charging itself for scope 1 and 2 emissions associated with its own business operations, including travel and electricity. The taxes help pay for its sustainability programs.

"Nearly all the carbon removal solutions we are purchasing are short-term and nature-based," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Thursday. "If we look at this work through our moonshot analogy, this is not the rocket that will take us to the moon. The world needs to invent substantially stronger technology-based solutions than are available today."

Microsoft's goal of halving emissions by 2030 falls in line with science-based targets. In order to avoid the most severe effects of climate change, the global economy will need to roughly halve emissions by 2030, according to a landmark report by leading climate scientists. By 2050, the world will need to gut emissions to near zero. Carbon removal may offer a small assist, but to get to the Moon, the heavy lifting will have to come from elsewhere.

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