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Microsoft wrestles with rising emissions from AI ahead of its 2030 net-zero goal

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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 the Wall Street Journal or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Microsoft is grappling with rising emissions from its AI data centers as it strives to achieve its 2030 net-zero goal
• Despite reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the company’s Scope 3 emissions surged by 31% from a 2020 baseline
• Chief Sustainability Officer Melanie Nakagawa outlines efforts including carbon offsets, small nuclear reactors, and enhanced composting

🔭 The context: Microsoft has invested over $760 million in sustainability initiatives through its Climate Innovation Fund and secured contracts for significant carbon removal and renewable energy
• Scope 3 emissions, representing 96% of Microsoft's total, come from its supply chain and product use, posing the biggest reduction challenge

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Microsoft's extensive AI infrastructure demands substantial energy, which can exacerbate carbon emissions unless mitigated by innovative, clean energy solutions
• Achieving net-zero emissions is crucial for setting industry standards and combating climate change

⏭️ What's next: Microsoft plans to require key suppliers to use 100% carbon-free energy by 2030 and is exploring partnerships for small modular reactors and fusion energy
• The company emphasizes the importance of transparent methodologies for carbon offsets and renewable energy purchases

💬 One quote: "I’m confident we’re working our tails off to get there." – Melanie Nakagawa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Microsoft

📈 One stat: Scope 3 emissions increased by 31% in 2023 compared to the 2020 baseline, contributing to a 29% rise in Microsoft’s total emissions

Click for more news covering the latest on green tech and net zero

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