This time, it is not a fraud by The Yes Men. Computer companies and internet giants such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are among the 13 major U.S. corporations which announced to invest at least $140 billion in order to decrease their carbon footprints. These commitments are a result of the Obama administration’s efforts to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge in order to set a signal for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris later on this year. The President’s Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years.
By signing the American Business Act on Climate pledge, the companies are planning to reduce their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and take other actions to build more sustainable businesses and tackle climate change. The initiative will come down to at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy. In addition, the goalsof the companies include to cut emissions as much as 50 percent, reduce water intensity about 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy, and pursue zero net deforestation in supply chains.
Apple, already running all of its U.S. operations on 100% renewable energy, will bring an estimated 280 megawatts of clean power generation online by the end of 2016 through investments in Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Sichuan Province, China. Since 2011, Apple has reduced carbon emissions from its global corporate facilities, data centers and retail stores by 48%.
Meanwhile Google purchased 1.1 gigawatts of renewable energy to power its data centers, and will triple the purchases of renewable energy by 2025. Further climate-friendly measures include the use of shuttles and corporate electric vehicles which is savings 29,000+ metric tons of CO2 per year, to reducing the water consumption through the use of recycled water irrigation and employee awareness efforts. Furthermore, Google’s products help drive carbon mitigation efforts and inform climate science. Through the Climate Data Initiative, Google provided one petabyte of cloud storage for data and climate/weather models, plus 50 million hours of high-performance cloud computing.
The software company Microsoft also committed to environment-friendly business practices. Microsoft pledges to purchase 100% renewable energy for the operations of its datacenters, offices, labs, and manufacturing facilities so that they become carbon neutral. Furthermore, the company will offset 100% of emissions from business air travel through supporting carbon offset projects that also drive social benefits in emerging nations.
Obama Administration will release a second round of pledges, with a goal of mobilizing many more companies to join the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. In addition, on October 20-21, Secretary Kerry will convene a forum at the State Department to highlight American leadership in climate investment and innovative solutions to our toughest climate finance challenges.
Picture: The new NASA global data set combines historical measurements with data from climate simulations using the best available computer models to provide forecasts of how global temperature (shown above) and precipitation might change up to 2100 under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. © NASA