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AI threatens tech companies’ climate commitments

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Wall Street Journal or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Google and Microsoft's emissions are rising despite their climate commitments. Google's emissions rose 13.5% from 2022 to 2023, and Microsoft's total emissions increased by 29% from 2020 to 2023
• Both companies blame the energy demands of AI technologies for these setbacks

🔭 The context: Both tech giants have ambitious climate goals, with Google aiming for a 50% emissions cut by 2019 and Microsoft striving to be carbon-negative by 2030
• The rise in emissions coincides with the growth of energy-intensive AI operations, such as data centers needed for large language models like ChatGPT

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The increasing emissions from leading tech companies highlight the broader challenge of balancing technological advancements with environmental sustainability
• This issue underscores the urgency for innovative solutions to manage the energy consumption of AI and data centers

⏭️ What's next: Companies are exploring creative solutions like AI efficiency tools, nuclear energy deals, and carbon offsets to mitigate their environmental impact
• The effectiveness of these measures in counteracting the increased energy demands remains uncertain

💬 One quote: “In spite of the progress we’re making, we face significant challenges that we’re actively working through,” wrote Google Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt and Senior Vice President Benedict Gomes

📈 One stat: AI is projected to increase electricity demands from data centers by 50% by 2027, according to researcher Alex de Vries

Click for more news covering the latest on corporate sustainability

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