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Microsoft Pats on the back for some rather weak climate commitments



Photo: AP

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced some important updates of its sustainability commitments. The company said it would double the internal price of carbon dioxide emissions, which means that it will charge more for its emissions from businesses, buildings and data centers and join a group that advocates a national carbon tax and dividend. This is fine step certainly (and who doesn't love a little bit-dimensional climate action?) But they are also completely inadequate and come at a time when Microsoft helps companies drive up the huge increase in carbon dioxide emissions that are driving climate change.

Let's start with the good stuff and give the company $ 860 billion a large oil grease. In the absence of a national, even less global, set of overall climate policy, the companies have very little incentive to do anything about climate change. Nevertheless, Microsoft has beaten an internal price of coal, which it raised this week to $ 15 per tonne.

"This internal Microsoft tax" was created in 2012 to keep our business departments financially responsible for reducing their carbon footprint, "Written the company in a blog announcing the new price." The funds from this higher fee will both maintain Microsoft's carbon neutrality and help us take a technical first approach that will be the core sustainability of all aspects of our business and technology to work for sustainable results. "

It's smart business decision because coal will almost certainly be priced in one way or another In the future, when the world is trying to deal with emissions, it makes sense for Microsoft to charge internally so that it will not be a shock to profit if or when governments value coal, and the company is currently collecting a fee that is used to offset emissions by investing in renewable energy sources, financing sustainability projects and improve transparency among other measures according to a voluntary enlightenment on climate activities. According to a report from the 201P from the CDP, a group tracking company reports on climate activities, at least 1,400 companies worldwide, has an internal coal price including technology giants such as Alphabet, Adobe and parts of Samsung.

But the internal price Microsoft put On coal is also quite weak. A report funded by the hippies at the World Bank showed that to keep global warming below 3 degrees Fahrenheit, a coal price would be at least $ 40-80 per tonne of carbon dioxane in 2020. These figures must rise to at least $ 50- $ 100 in 2030 (again, it is a at least estimate and it may need to be much higher to significantly affect emissions). So while Microsoft may be ahead of some of its climate-front friends (coughing, coughing Amazon), it doesn't price coal in a way that will actually move the needle.

Then it was the company's other big announcement that it would join the Climate Leadership Council, a conservative inclined group advocating a national coal tax and dividends in US law based on the group's proposal has been introduced several times by the centrist democrat and the more climate-friendly Republican members of Congress, but these proposals have gone absolutely nowhere with rank and file members. It's hard to believe that Microsoft's additions to the gang will make a big difference.

But Microsoft will at least find well-known companies in the form of the group's founder: Big Oil. The list includes Exxon, BP, Shell and other companies Microsoft has provided technology to accelerate the production of the very fossil fuels that drive us to a climate catastrophe. As Gizmodos Brian Merchant put in February, while Microsoft and other technical giants "get a progressive air on climate change and extend their own clean energy investments, they are in fact deep in the process of automating the climate crisis."

In February, Microsoft released a very different press release saying "ExxonMobil said today a new partnership with Microsoft Corp. will make its Permian Basin [ground zero for fracking] operations the largest oil and gas field to use cloud technology and is expected to generate billions in net cash flow over the next decade through improvements in analysis and operational efficiency improvements. "In December, Microsoft discussed its relationship with BP. And in November, the company again tested how Exxon's subsidiary XTO uses Microsoft Azure's cloud computing platform to find all of these fossil fuels more efficiently.

But hey, on the bright side, announced the company's announcement this week that researchers and people working with climate solutions also get access to Azure and data stored there. Here they hope to calculate solutions faster than oil and gas boilers can find new fossil fuel deposits.


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