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Google’s carbon-free future

Google’s ways of working towards a carbon-free future

Currently, there is still a heavy reliance on carbon-emitting energy sources. Carbon released to the atmosphere has been responsible for the climate change experienced recently, which could tamper with the earth’s ability to support life in the coming years. There are alternative carbon-free clean sources of energy, like solar, wind, and hydro, however, they are unreliable and cannot be used all the time. The tools required to harness carbon-free energy to be used all the time at scale do not exist yet, but that has not stopped people from trying and Google is leading the way. Google is aiming to be the first major company to run 24/7 on carbon-free energy by 2030. How are they working to achieve this ambitious goal? 

Charity begins at home

Since 2007, Google has been working to neutralize its carbon emissions legacy, and it was the first company to commit to and achieve carbon neutrality back then. As of 2017, Google managed to match (100%) their consumption of electricity with renewable energy purchases. Currently, Google has obtained ample high-quality carbon offsets and renewable energy to mitigate their operational carbon emissions.  

Cooperation for a carbon-free future

Those in charge at google know that this ambitious goal cannot be realized singlehandedly. For this reason, Google is cooperating with utilities, governments, policymakers, etc. to deploy technologies that facilitate change at the system level. These collaborations are responsible for initiatives such as harnessing next-gen geothermal energy and carbon-intelligent computing. There is the prospect of generating more solutions like this and better than this soon.  

Issuing $5.75B in sustainability bonds and $4M funding for ICLEI Action Fund

Google’s commitment to a carbon-free future, is unmatched as they were willing to part with up to $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds, in August 2020, to support this mission. It marked the largest green bond issuance by any company. This will benefit employees, communities, and stakeholders in this field. This initiative is also meant to provoke other socially and environmentally responsible investors to join the movement. 

In addition, a $4 million fund has been launched in collaboration with ICLEI. ICLEI consists of local governments committed to sustainability. They support nonprofits and academic institutions in Europe and Latin America. Their main focus is in the transport sector, to limit carbon emission from vehicles, to obtain clean air. 

A role in facilitating cities reduce carbon emission

Taking advantage of their extensive data, Google launched an online tool called Environmental Insights Explorer. A free online tool, available to 3000 cities utilizing data to empower policymakers with knowledge and metrics of carbon emission in their cities. They can then use this information to form better policies and reduce these emissions. 

Reforestation and better tree data

Every climate preservation measure begins with planting more trees to remove the excess carbon in the air. Google is not exempting itself from this. However, it is not as simple as planting trees whenever and wherever. This is where Google comes in to utilize its strengths to provide data on when and where trees should be planted for maximum efficiency. In partnership with Crowther Lab, Google is working to develop a global data platform to increase the impact of reforestation. Reforestation programs have also been launched in Australia, Texas, California, and Spain.  

Google is one of the global companies spearheading the carbon-free future movement. It has committed a lot of financial and material resources towards this goal. Provided everything goes as planned, it will realize the goal of being the first major company to run on carbon-free energy, 24/7. 

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