We made a commitment a year ago to redouble our own efforts on climate change and to help accelerate global progress in achieving the decarbonization targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. Since that pledge, we have made new operational commitments to reduce our carbon footprint; increased our use of carbon-free energy to power our operations; advocated for policies across the U.S. and around the world to lower emissions and expand clean energy; and worked with customers and NGOs to accelerate their low-carbon transformations, including launching a new AI for Earth program to bring the power of AI to bear in fighting climate change and building climate resiliency. We are still in—and we are proud to stand alongside the many other U.S. companies, cities, states, and universities that are working to advance a more sustainable future.
Examples of our Progress
Microsoft is proud to report that our company milestones since June 2017:
- Carbon— Microsoft is on a path, as a company, to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement through continued progress against our long-standing carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments, as well as investments in energy efficiency for our datacenters and operations. Last November, we scaled up our ambition and announced a new pledge to reduce our operational carbon emissions 75% by 2030, against a 2013 baseline. This is equivalent to zeroing out the emissions of a large city like Detroit or Rome.
- Energy—Microsoft is committed to building a clean and responsible cloud. In the past year alone, we’ve signed five new wind and solar deals around the world, including the largest corporate solar agreement in the United States, the largest rooftop solar agreement in Singapore, and the first corporate power purchase agreement in Ireland. These projects enabled us to meet our goal to power our datacenters with 50% renewable energy by 2018, ahead of schedule, and are propelling us toward our next 60% renewable milestone. In addition, we signed a ground breaking contract to buy 100% carbon-free energy to power much of our Puget Sound campus. These projects help meet our company’s energy needs, while increasing the accessibility and affordability of carbon-free electricity in markets where we operate around the world.
- Policy—Microsoft is more active than ever on the policy front, working in Washington, D.C., state capitals and internationally to help craft policies that lower emissions and improve access to clean energy. In Washington State, we advocated for legislation to put a price on carbon. In Virginia, we pushed for customers to have more options to purchase renewable energy. In Washington D.C., we are promoting market rules that encourage clean innovation and give customers access to a fair, competitive market rate. In Brussels, we are proposing reforms to enable more customers to buy renewable energy. And we were proud to participate at COP23 to show policymakers from around the world that “we are still in.”
- AI for Earth—Beyond our own operational commitments, Microsoft is also working to accelerate climate research and solutions, and help build climate resiliency, by bringing the game-changing power of our AI and cloud computing technologies to those working on the front lines of sustainability. In December, we announced a brand new $50 million investment in AI for Earth, a Microsoft program aimed at empowering people and organizations to solve global environmental challenges in the key focus areas of climate, agriculture, water and biodiversity. To date, we’ve awarded 112 grants to individuals and organizations in 27 countries, providing innovative data science, spatial analysis, and visualization tools to accelerate field work in the race against climate change.