The climate is changing and calls to do something about it are intensifying. From the U.N. High-level Political Forum taking place this week in New York City to COP26 – the U.N.’s annual climate change conference in November – leaders are coming together to make decisions that will dictate the speed and scale of the global effort to stabilize our climate system.
At Microsoft we are not only tracking these conversations closely but also engaging in them – and we are, in a way, mirroring them. In this blog we outline what will be the most critical infrastructure of a net zero carbon economy, commit to new goals intended to help engineer that infrastructure, highlight a major new product offering intended to assist customers around the world to record, report and reduce their own emissions; and provide an update on progress toward our commitments to become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030 and protecting ecosystems by building a Planetary Computer.
Microsoft’s 100/100/0 vision and commitment for a decarbonized grid
Every net zero scenario that scientists and politicians play out shares a common, and essential, element: a massive increase in electrification. Powering vehicles and manufacturing plants with electricity holds the promise of wiping out vast sections of the global emissions portfolio. But this only happens if the electrons supplying the electricity are generated from zero carbon energy sources (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, or point-source carbon capture and sequestration) and then stored and transported to where they are needed. Unfortunately, this is not the way the world’s grids are set up. Most electrons flowing onto grids today come from carbon intensive sources. Energy storage is extremely immature, and the grid infrastructure of today cannot efficiently respond to the varying production capabilities that zero carbon sources provide, nor the increasing consumption demands of a rapidly electrifying society.
By 2030 Microsoft will have 100 percent of its electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases.
At Microsoft we have a long-term vision that we refer to as 100/100/0 – that on all the world’s grids,