Microsoft will invest $1 billion to cut carbon emissions

The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. Already, the planet’s temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.

Microsoft has announced it aims to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030 and hopes to have removed enough carbon to account for all the direct emissions the company has ever made by 2050.

It’s one of the largest funding commitments ever to methods of sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, which most research shows will be a necessary part of any plan to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming. Funding for direct-air-capture startups like Carbon Engineering, Climeworks, and Global Thermostat have been climbing but have been limited to the tens of millions of dollars range to date.

They recognize that progress requires not just a bold goal but a detailed plan. They are launching an aggressive program to cut their carbon emissions by more than half by 2030, both for their direct emissions and for their entire supply and value chain. They will fund this in part by expanding their internal carbon fee, in place since 2012 and increased last year, to start charging not only their direct emissions, but those from their supply and value chains.

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