At Microsoft, we believe climate change is an urgent problem that demands a global response from all industries. We are committed to doing our part and have been taking steps to address and reduce our carbon footprint for nearly a decade. In 2009, Microsoft set its first carbon emissions target. In 2012, we became one of the first companies to put an internal global carbon fee in place, which enables us to operate 100 percent carbon neutral. Last year, we put in place targets to get more energy from renewable sources.
Today, we will take the next step in this journey by pledging to reduce our operational carbon emissions 75 percent by 2030, against a 2013 baseline. We’ll do this through continued progress against our carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments, as well as investments in energy efficiency. This puts Microsoft on a path, as a company, to meet the goals set in the Paris climate agreement, which is a level of decarbonization that many scientists believe is necessary to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. We estimate this will help avoid more than 10 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2030.
As we expand our global cloud infrastructure, we will increasingly turn to renewable energy because it is a clean power source and gives us better financial predictability. It’s good for the environment, our customers and our business. Our cloud-based programs to reduce resource consumption have already cut energy consumption at our main campus in Redmond, Washington by nearly 20 percent, reducing emissions and our power bill. The data we’ve collected on our energy consumption laid the groundwork for us to now buy our own clean energy at market rates, and we’ll soon be powering our Puget Sound campus with 100 percent carbon-free energy. Put simply, the environment and our business both benefit each time we’ve implemented sustainability targets and goals.
We’ve also seen that the private sector can be a catalyst for exponential change. This is particularly true for companies like ours. Artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud are enabling companies and governments to make smarter, real-time decisions that lower emissions and reduce resource consumption in areas from buildings to transportation to manufacturing to agriculture to the production and distribution of electricity. We’re working not only to enable these transformations, but also to create and democratize new innovations through programs like AI for Earth that can help our customers adapt and thrive in a changing environment.
But even with our commitments within our operations and work with our customers, there’s still more to do.
As a global company, the changes we make in how we operate our business and the goals we set have a worldwide impact. It’s our hope that this pledge inspires others to join us in setting targets, and provides confidence to governments, companies and individuals that it’s possible for entities to help reach the goals set in the Paris climate agreement. By raising our ambitions and taking these actions, our goal is to help make the future more sustainable and beneficial to everyone.
Tags: Brad Smith, carbon emissions, carbon fee, Paris climate agreement