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Microsoft plans to go carbon negative by 2030

by Melody M. Bomgardner
January 24, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 4


Computing giant Microsoft has gone one step further than a carbon-neutral pledge: it promises to go carbon negative by 2030. What’s more, Microsoft says that by 2050 it will have removed enough carbon from the atmosphere to wipe out all its emissions dating from its founding in 1975. Microsoft’s strategy calls for the company to move from purchasing so-called avoided-emissions offsets to supporting active carbon-removal schemes. The plan extends beyond emissions from Microsoft’s own operations to include those from its supply chain, materials in its buildings, and employee business travel. That will add up to an estimated 16 million metric tons in 2020. Microsoft will invest $1 billion over the next 4 years in new technologies, including carbon capture and storage and direct air capture of CO2. Part of its mission will be to help customers—including those in the oil and gas industry—achieve net zero carbon operations. “Reducing carbon is where the world needs to go, and we recognize that it’s what our customers and employees are asking us to pursue,” Microsoft president Brad Smith writes in a blog post. “This is a bold bet—a moonshot.”


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