Microsoft wants to wipe out its carbon footprint – this is what the climate plan looks like

Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012. Now the tech company is going a big step further. picture: microsoft / Brian Smale

“Neutral is not enough”: Microsoft wants to wipe out its carbon footprint – this is the plan

Microsoft wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to an extreme in the fight against climate change: by 2030, the Windows group not only wants to become “CO2 neutral”, but also to wipe out more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits itself.

  • Microsoft has introduced a comprehensive climate protection program.
  • The company has wanted to retrieve all of its CO2 emissions from the atmosphere since it was founded 45 years ago.
  • Microsoft also plans to invest $ 1 billion in an innovation fund over the next four years to research the development of carbon dioxide storage technologies.

Is CO2 neutral Microsoft according to its own statements since 2012. Now the US technology giant is going one step further: by 2030, the group wants to wipe out more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits itself. This “CO2 negativity” is intended to ensure that all emissions caused by the Windows provider since its foundation in 1975 are offset by 2050. The company announced on Thursday.

Blue: Microsoft’s CO2 emissions. Light green: Planned CO2 eradication from the atmosphere. picture: microsoft

“Neutral is not enough to meet the needs of the world,” said Microsoft. “The scientific consensus is clear,” said CEO Satya Nadella. “The world is facing an acute carbon crisis.” If emissions are not reduced and temperatures continue to rise, according to science, this will have “devastating” consequences.

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CO2 recovery

Nadella admits that there are still no processes available to remove very large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. That is why Microsoft plans to invest a billion dollars in an innovation fund over the next four years to research the development of technologies for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, so-called carbon capture methods.

Microsoft will rely on a mix of technologies – such as reforestation, carbon sequestration in the soil, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct aerial photography.

In fact, there are already first methods to remove CO2 from the air. Swiss companies are also researching such technologies, but they are still very expensive. It is also unclear how the CO2 can be stored in the soil. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can keep its big promise.

Although this is only a «fragment» of what is required overall, Microsoft finance chief Amy Hood said. However, she hopes “that we will set an example for both governments and other companies to invest with us in the long term to solve the problem.”

It is also planned to completely switch the energy supply for all of the Group’s data centers and buildings to renewable energies by 2025. Microsoft is after Amazon the world‘s second largest operator of data centers for cloud solutions. Studies have shown that cloud services, including streaming services such as Netflix, now release more CO2 than that aviation,

“Preserving the planet is definitely a moonshot”

In addition, Microsoft plans to publish annual reports on its CO2 emissions in the future. According to Microsoft, it already issues a kind of CO2 price tag internally, which also takes into account the climate impact of products and services. Microsoft manager Brad Smith could imagine that this will also be given to consumers in the future and thus influence their purchasing decisions. This in turn could create enormous incentives for companies.

“Preserving the planet is the ultimate moonshot,” said Smith, conceptually based on the comparison of large-scale innovative projects with the moon charge that US technology companies have repeatedly used. “No individual, no company and no country can solve this alone,” he added. Microsoft wants to do its part. (SDA / afp)

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