The time is now for greater ambition and faster action towards net zero
Time is running out on efforts to stabilize our global climate system. Doing so will require transitioning our world to a net zero carbon economy by 2050. Failing to do so risks unprecedented social and economic disruption. This year, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in many ways represents our last chance. Countries must come together and agree on a coordinated approach to an unprecedented social and economic transition.
We believe deeply in the power of COP26 to bring together the people needed to focus clearly on the necessary commitments and pathways. Today, Microsoft, together with the U.K. government, is pleased to announce our role as a Principal Partner for COP26. At the conference this November in Glasgow, Scotland, we have a real opportunity to come together to commit to a net zero carbon economy and share learnings on our individual and collective journey to reduce carbon emissions.
In particular, the world needs to make significant progress in three core areas:
- The meaning of net zero: To achieve global net zero the world needs to reduce emissions as much as possible, and physically remove the rest. Organizational commitment to net zero should align with this global requirement, and contain explicit quantitative commitments for reduction and removal specifically.
- The measurement of net zero: The world needs to simplify and streamline its carbon accounting and management, including data collection, digitization and optimization.
- The markets that will support net zero: The world needs financial and human investment across the economy. Money and jobs must flow into carbon reduction and removal markets.
Through our partnership, we want to help people and organizations better understand the transformative potential for technology to help solve many of the complex climate challenges we face. We know that to achieve real, global net zero every organization needs to do their part to both reduce, then remove emissions. That’s why Microsoft has bold environmental commitments including a detailed plan to be carbon negative by 2030, reduce emissions by half or more, and remove from the environment all the carbon we will emit in the future, as well as all of the carbon the company has emitted since its founding by 2050.
Technology has a significant role to play in solving climate challenges
We know that many of the technologies needed to solve our carbon problem do not yet exist. This is why we are investing $1 billion over four years in new technologies and innovative climate solutions through our Climate Innovation Fund.
We recognize that it is challenging to make and meet meaningful carbon reduction goals without uniform standards in place to measure carbon emissions. This is a topic we are vocal about and look forward to continuing the conversation with key parties this November, as it is foundational for us all to meet climate goals. We also know that data science, artificial intelligence and digital technologies will play a vital role in supporting and enabling this measurement.
Coming together to drive change
Microsoft, and other organizations who are serious about an environmentally sustainable future, need to pull all our levers of influence as suppliers, investors, employers, policy advocates and partners to make an outsized impact on climate change. At COP26, public and private sectors will join forces to define real net zero, how to measure progress and build markets that can deliver a just, prosperous future for everyone. It’s an important decision-making moment for the health of our planet, and we’re honoured to play an active, visible and vocal role. The world’s environmental challenges are daunting but, together, we can move faster.