Microsoft’s climate pledge

A year has passed since Microsoft made a pledge to cut down on planet-heating emissions in the next couple of decades.

The firm has already managed to slash its carbon footprint by 6%.

While this is a good start, a whole lot more still needs to be done to reach its environmental goals.

The company is aiming to become carbon negative by 2030.

By 2050, Microsoft has pledged to remove the equivalent of all the carbon dioxide that it has released since 1975, the year of its inception.

One obstacle is having to rely on carbon removal technologies – at the moment, this is not a reliable option.

Microsoft will not stop pumping out greenhouse gases altogether.

Instead, the goal is to cancel out some portion of it by hiring other companies and nonprofits to trap and store the gas.

In the near future, carbon removal schemes will account for almost 50% of Microsoft’s carbon emissions.

In 2020, the company released 11,164,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Since making the pledge, Microsoft reports having purchased contracts to capture 1.3m metric tons of CO2.

Funding reforestation projects and technology that captures greenhouse gases is one way for companies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In a blog post, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, wrote that there is no carbon removal ecosystem in existence and that the world needs a new market built from scratch.

To accelerate the growth of such a concept, Microsoft went forward to start a $1bn Climate Innovation Fund last year.

However, to make carbon removal a feasible strategy, it will take more than that.

Relying on forests to do the heavy lifting is not a bulletproof strategy because it is technically not carbon removal, but merely an offset.

Instead, all companies should concentrate their efforts on not polluting in the first place.