Microsoft is tackling global warming by pledging to remove more carbon out of the air than it generates by 2030.
The ambitious plan to go “carbon negative” will entail Microsoft moving the company’s infrastructure to run on renewable energies and electric vehicles, planting entire forests, and investing $1 billion to fund carbon capture technologies.
“If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in Thursday’s announcement.
Microsoft originally sought to become a “carbon neutral” company, meaning it could generate carbon emissions as long as it offset them through other means, like paying someone not to cut down their trees. But now the company wants to do more, pointing to the danger of global temperatures rising by one to four degrees Celsius if not enough is done to curb carbon emissions, according to scientists.
“In short, neutral is not enough to address the world’s needs,” Smith said. “While it is imperative that we continue to avoid emissions, and these investments remain important, we see an acute need to begin removing carbon from the atmosphere, which we believe we can help catalyze through our investments.”
As a result, Microsoft’s “carbon negative” plan also calls for the software giant to remove all the carbon emissions the company has ever generated over its existence by 2050. This include cutting emissions that come from employees’ business travel, and from the company’s supply chain of manufacturing vendors.
Today’s announcement comes as other tech companies such as Google and Amazon have been facing pressure from their own employees to do more to tackle climate change. This has resulted in organized protests, calling for them to phase out fossil fuel use and become carbon neutral by 2030.
Microsoft’s response appears to be the most aggressive plan yet proposed by a major tech company to prevent climate change. “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,” Smith added. “This is a bold bet—a moonshot—for Microsoft. And it will need to become a moonshot for the world.”