Google claims to no longer be carbon neutral, aims for net-zero emissions by 2030

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Google claims to no longer be carbon neutral, aims for net-zero emissions by 2030

GOOGLE. The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, January 10, 2024.

Steve Marcus/Reuters

Google is 'focusing on accelerating an array of carbon solutions and partnerships' to help them 'work toward' a net-zero emissions goal by 2030

MANILA, Philippines – Google will no longer go carbon neutral, according to its 2024 Environmental Report last July 2. Instead of purchasing cheap carbon offsets, the company said it will heavily invest in more high-quality offsets, going against its carbon-neutral stance since 2007.  

The report said Google will be “focusing on accelerating an array of carbon solutions and partnerships” to help them “work toward” their net-zero emissions goal by 2030. 

According to TechTarget, a Carbon offset refers to reducing carbon emissions elsewhere to compensate for one’s carbon emissions. It commonly happens when an organization buys credit. A broker calculates the organization’s emissions to charge them a specified amount of money, which is then used to invest in green technology. 

Carbon neutrality usually entails having the same number of offset credits and carbon footprint. This neutrality has supposedly been abandoned by Google to meet its 2030 deadline. 

In a Bloomberg report on Monday, July 8, Fabiola De Simone, a policy expert with Carbon Market Watch, said this practice of offsetting is wrong. “Even if emissions can demonstrably be removed, for the time they existed in the atmosphere, they still caused harm,” she said. 

It’s speculated that Google’s sudden change in its carbon-neutral stance is in response to the introduction of AI. 

Coinciding with this, Google announced in the same report about its struggle with reducing emissions due to the integration of artificial intelligence into its infrastructure. The company noted a 13% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2023, making the 2030 target appear more difficult to achieve. 

This story aligns with other empirical findings of AI’s power usage, as showcased in reports such as Goldman Sachs citing that the technology places a heavy power burden on data centers. Rav Ayag/

Rav Ayag is a Tech and Features intern at Rappler. He is an incoming senior at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. 

This story was vetted by a reporter and an editor.

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