A year ago, Microsoft launched a commitment to focus on the climate crisis and to become carbon negative as a company by 2030. By 2050, Microsoft is committing to remove from the environment all the carbon that Microsoft has emitted directly or through electricity use since the company was founded in 1975.
Today the company posted a progress report, and so far progress has been good, though short of the 10% per year needed to hit their target.
Microsoft reports that they have managed to cut carbon emissions by 6% in their first year. Through its carbon removal efforts over the last year, Microsoft paid others to remove 1.3 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere, Microsoft notes that it is not enough however:
“Nearly all the carbon removal solutions we are purchasing are short-term and nature-based,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Thursday. “If we look at this work through our moonshot analogy, this is not the rocket that will take us to the moon. The world needs to invent substantially stronger technology-based solutions than are available today.”
“But paying someone not to emit carbon is literally paying someone to do nothing. And we know we won’t solve the climate crisis by doing nothing,” Smith said. That’s why Microsoft is also investing $1 billion in its Climate Innovation Fund to take actions including funding technology projects to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — a daunting technology challenge at large scale, since doing so requires lots of energy.”
The move echoes Elon Musk’s own ideas, with the Tesla entrepreneur setting up a $100 million prize for the best carbon capture technology.
Microsoft hopes it can multiply its influence by pushing suppliers to make cuts of its own. It reports its suppliers have cut emissions by 760,000 metric tons over the last year, a 6% reduction, to 10.9 million metric tons.
Microsoft posted detail of their efforts in their sustainability report. Read it here.