Microsoft Aiming to Erase its 45-Year Carbon Footprint With Carbon Removal Technology

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Microsoft has stated its intention to not only become a completely carbon-neutral organisation in just a few year’s time with a $1-billion investment into carbon removal technology.

Furthermore, Microsoft has said that the company’s aim is to remove the equivalent amount of carbon that the company has emitted in its 45-year history; complete carbon footprint erasure with its new ‘Climate Innovation Fund’, aimed at speeding the rate of development into carbon removal technology, also known as carbon engineering.

Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, told the media at an event at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington that “if the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that technology built without these principles can do more harm than good.”

“We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change,” he said, stating that if temperatures worldwide continue to go unaddressed by governments and the commercial sector alike, “the results will be devastating.”

Microsoft has stated that it will begin expanding an internal fee to account for its emissions, which will extend to business groups associated with the company. As of 2012, Microsoft was determining this fee based on electricity use, air travel and shipping, etc. That money, according to Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, is “used, then, for us to invest in our work to reduce our carbon emissions.”

Reuters is reporting that “Microsoft’s pledge to address its historical emissions may resonate with some developing nations which say countries that created the most carbon, and wealth in the process, are not taking responsibility for their past pollution.”

Microsoft’s plan includes a pledge to cut carbon emissions by more than 50% by the turn of the decade across its supply chain. President, Brad Smith has conceded that the technology necessary to facilitate this, however, isn’t viable just yet, but the company is prepared to invest $1-billion over the next four years to increase research and development into carbon engineering.

The announcement can be seen as a commitment from the commercial sector that companies remain committed to the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, despite President Trump pulling the United States in 2017.

Democratic Senator, Chris Coons and Indiana Republican who chair the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus both applauded Microsoft for its initiative on tackling its emissions, stating that “the scope of this proposal is exactly the kind of bold action we need from the business community.”

Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates was an early investor in a Canadian-based carbon engineering firm, one of a small handful of firms aiming to develop ‘direct air capture’ technology that would filter carbon dioxide from the air.

“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,”

Reuters is reporting that “Microsoft said it charges $15 per metric ton for core carbon emissions internally and will expand the coverage in phases to cover all emissions. Microsoft’s price is lower than that for carbon traded in California, where it was $17 per ton in the most recent auction, and the European Union, where it was estimated to trade at 26.57 euros, or $29.58 in the current quarter.

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