Microsoft hikes carbon tax

Microsoft hikes carbon tax

Apr 23, 2019
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The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus in Redmond, Washington. Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Microsoft is nearly doubling its internal carbon tax to $15 (€13.29/CHF15.12) per metric ton, forcing its employees to consider their carbon footprint in their budgets and bottom lines.

“We’re taking action to put our own house in order, while increasingly addressing sustainability challenges around the globe by engaging our strongest assets as a company — our employees and our technologies,” said Microsoft Brad Smith said in a statement announcing the change.

The Seattle-based company is on track to reaching its seven-year-old goal of cutting carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030.

But those efforts aren’t enough, said Smith. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year predicted that a 2-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures, which is now slated to occur unless drastic action is taken, would threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people and cause thousands of species to go extinct.

“The magnitude and speed of the world’s environmental changes have made it increasingly clear that we must do more,” said Smith. “Microsoft is taking steps to do just that.”

Microsoft also commissioned and released a PricewaterhouseCoopers UK study that found that artificial intelligence could help grow the global economy by 4.4 percent, creating 38 million jobs annually, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent.

Microsoft announced a $50 billion (€44.3 billion/CHF50.38 billion) budget for its AI for Earth program in 2017.

“Put simply, AI can enable our future systems to be more productive for the economy and for nature,” said Celine Herweijer, global innovation and sustainability leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK.

Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images