Microsoft wants to make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gases that are harmful to the climate. By 2030 at the latest, the software company wants to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella announced in Redmond.
And by 2050, Microsoft wants to remove all the carbon from the environment that the company has generated either directly or through power consumption since its inception in 1975.
The background to the Microsoft initiative is the fact that the IT industry has so far made a significant contribution to CO2 emissions and thus to climate change due to the large electricity demand. According to some studies, the Internet alone with cloud applications like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure and streaming services like Netflix meanwhile releases more CO2 than global aviation.
Nadella admitted that there are still no procedures to remove very large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Microsoft would therefore set up a fund of one billion dollars (900 million euros) to promote the development of techniques and methods with which one can become “CO2 negative”. The company will rely on a portfolio of technologies – including reforestation, carbon sequestration in the soil, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct aerial photography.
Microsoft partners and suppliers are also to be involved in the initiative. From 2021, the CO2 reduction will be explicitly taken into account when selecting suppliers. Internally, Microsoft would introduce a CO2 tax of $ 15 per tonne of CO2, which would actually be charged to every department in internal billing.
When developing plants and processes for CO2 reduction, the main thing is that they can also be used on a large scale and that they are affordable. They should also be made commercially available and verifiable. “Given the current state of technology and pricing, we will initially focus on nature-based solutions,” Microsoft said in a blog entry. By 2050, efforts will be made to switch to technology-based solutions if they become more profitable.
“The reduction of carbon is the goal that the world must achieve,” emphasized Nadella. “This is a daring bet – a” Moonshot “- for Microsoft.» It will not be easy for his company to become carbon negative by 2030. “But we believe that it is the right goal.” With the right commitment, it is also an achievable goal.