Microsoft shoots for Paris Agreement with 75% emissions reduction goal

Microsoft has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030, in a move that will align the technology company's decarbonisation strategy with the 2C pathway target of the Paris Agreement.

Announced amidst the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Microsoft revealed that it would target the 75% reduction against a 2013 baseline. According to a blog post published by Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith on Tuesday (14 November), reaching the goal will result in 10 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions being avoided.

“As a global company, the changes we make in how we operate our business and the goals we set have a worldwide impact,” Smith wrote. “It’s our hope that this pledge inspires others to join us in setting targets, and provides confidence to governments, companies and individuals that it’s possible for entities to help reach the goals set in the Paris climate agreement.

“By raising our ambitions and taking these actions, our goal is to help make the future more sustainable and beneficial to everyone.”

Microsoft set its first ever carbon emissions target in 2009, aiming for a 30% reduction. The company claims the aggressive new goal will put decarbonisation efforts in line with the 2C global warming limit goal issued as part of the Paris Agreement.

Internal carbon prices and sourcing renewable electricity mean that Microsoft has been carbon neutral across direct operations, such as data centres, development labs and office buildings, since 2013.

Regarding data centres, a cloud-based programme has contributed to a 20% reduction in energy use. Microsoft is adding more clean sources to its energy mix in an attempt to reach a 60% renewables target “early in the next decade”.

Microsoft is still in

Microsoft is a prime example of a US-based business taking a leading stance on climate action, despite the political U-turn issued by President Trump.

Along with more than 900 companies, Microsoft joined the We Are Still In declaration, led by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The initiative is an act of defiance against Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, with companies and states vowing to achieve and exceed the US’s original commitment.

Microsoft is also part of a technology coalition that applauded the efforts of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to open-up US wholesale electricity markets to energy storage and demand response initiatives.

Matt Mace

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