CEO said For a company Google Agency Reuters: By 2030, the research giant aims to provide data centers and offices with renewable energy only, so that it will become the largest company in the world committed to abandoning coal and natural gas energy.
The “expanded goal,” as CEO Sundar Pichai has described it, is forcing Google to bypass the technology industry standard to offset carbon emissions from electricity use and requires technical and political breakthroughs to achieve.
“The problem is so massive, and many of us need to lead the way and show solutions, and we are young players in this field, but we can be an example,” Pichai said.
Pichai explained that the wildfires in the western United States that started this month have increased public awareness of climate change, and Google wants to attract more attention through its new target, in addition to the product’s features.
Wind power, solar power and other renewable energy sources accounted for 61 percent of Google’s global hourly use of electricity last year.
The percentage varied by facility, with carbon-free sources meeting 96 percent of the hourly energy needs of the Oklahoma data center, compared to 3 percent for its gas-dependent Singapore operations.
But Google, which consumes slightly more energy annually worldwide than residents and companies in Delaware, has become optimistic that it can fill the gap with batteries to store solar energy, emerging sources such as geothermal tanks, and better manage energy needs.
“We see an enormous logistical challenge when planning to operate our operations around the world so that they are carbon-neutral, which is why we have worked so hard on designing last year’s model of how to achieve this, and we feel confident that we can achieve this by 2030,” Pichai said.
Google’s major competitors, including Microsoft and Amazon, have targeted more carbon removal from the atmosphere than is emitted over the coming decades, but none has set a public goal to stop carbon-based energy access.
Companies share a common goal of incentivizing companies and governments to reduce climate pollution before 2030, the year scientists say global warming could become catastrophic if not curbed.
Google has inspired others in the US and Europe over the past decade, but its efforts should now spur action in polluted regions, such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Google has become carbon neutral since 2007, which means that it planted trees and funded large amounts of wind energy in places where it is abundant to compensate for its exploitation of coal energy and natural gas in other regions.
The company said its estimated emissions of one million metric tons between 1998 and 2006 have now been offset. “Google will continue to offset carbon emissions unrelated to electricity use, such as employee travel,” the company said.