Google parent Alphabet announced today that the internet giant has achieved a significant climate milestone, reaching zero lifetime net carbon emissions. Google also announced a “moonshot” sustainability target, aiming to run the entire business on carbon-free energy by 2030.
Google reached carbon neutrality in 2007, and has become the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. To compensate for carbon emissions produced prior to 2007, the company purchased high-quality carbon offsets.
The company stated that its next step of running entirely on carbon-free energy makes it the first major company to set this goal. In a blog post introducing the new target, CEO Sundar Pichai outlined the initial steps the company will take towards its new ambition:
“We’ll start by working towards 24/7 carbon-free energy at all of our data centers and campuses around the world. Our data centers power the products and services you’ve come to rely on every day. This will mean every email you send through Gmail, every question you ask Google Search, every YouTube video you watch, and every route you take using Google Maps, is supplied by clean energy every hour of every day.
“Not long ago, it was hard to imagine a 24/7 carbon-free electricity supply—at a simple level, the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t shine at night. But thanks to trends in technology, and with the right government policies, the promise of 24/7 clean energy will soon be within reach. To get there, Google will invest in approaches that make it possible for us to source reliable carbon-free energy in all locations, at all times of day. We’ll do things like pairing wind and solar power sources together, and increasing our use of battery storage. And we’re working on ways to apply AI to optimize our electricity demand and forecasting.”
Pichai also announced other new sustainability goals for the company, including investing in manufacturing regions to enable 5 GW of new carbon-free energy, helping 500 cities reduce their carbon emissions and finding new ways to empower 1 billion people through our products. The company anticipates these efforts will result in reductions of 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030. The company is also introducing a number of initiatives to help partners and organizations reduce their carbon usage and remove carbon from the atmosphere.