Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are funding climate chaos
Tech companies continue to greenwash the public, outwardly claiming to be "green," climate friendly, or 100% renewable, with practices that do not align with their grandiose declarations. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are the worst offenders.
From Big Tech Loves Big Oil: Amazon Web Services has an Oil and Gas division, Google uses A.I. and machine learning to discover oil reserves, and Microsoft hosts conferences called “Empowering Oil and Gas with A.I,” proudly pursuing “the future health of oil and gas companies”
Read a round-up of the headlines below:
"Big Tech’s role in global warming varies from company to company. Amazon, Facebook and Google all use enormous amounts of energy and water for their data centers. Amazon relies on gas-guzzling trucks and packages that themselves have a huge environmental footprint; even recycling uses a lot of energy. And makers of devices — like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — produce greenhouse gas emissions through their supply chains, which involve contractors that do the actual manufacturing in different parts of the world.
The pressure on companies to do something about their climate footprint comes both from within the ranks of their employees and from advocacy groups on the outside.
Not only are they under scrutiny for the emissions they produce. Internet companies, like Facebook, have been criticized for allowing the spread of disinformation about climate science. Greenpeace took aim at Google, Microsoft and Amazon for using their artificial intelligence and cloud computing services to help oil producers find and extract oil and gas deposits, which Greenpeace said is “significantly undermining” the tech companies’ other climate commitments.
One by one, the giants of Silicon Valley have been compelled to address their own role in the climate crisis."
Amazon, Google and Microsoft referred InsideClimate News to past statements and sustainability commitments when asked about their contracts with oil and gas companies.
Google and Amazon declined to comment on the Extinction Rebellion campaign, while Amazon did not respond to requests for comment. Targeting Enduring Ties Between Tech and Oil
As a global environmental NGO, Greenpeace has a long history of engaging with, and pressuring, tech companies to be more sustainable. Jardim and her colleagues approached tech companies about their contracts with Big Oil, a move that she said led to "an ongoing conversation."
While writing the report, Jardim said, the majority of contracts she reviewed were for increasing oil and gas production, a discovery she said she found deeply problematic. "Any production enhancements that the cloud companies are offering to oil and gas companies to the end of improving production efficiency is a loss for the climate," Jardim said. She hopes that tech majors will instead harness their technology "to help scale up renewables."
"As the oil and gas industry confronts the end of the oil age and deteriorating earnings, major oil corporations such as Shell, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and others have turned to the cloud giants and their high powered computing capabilities to find and extract more oil and gas and reduce production costs. Despite the biggest cloud companies’ commitments to address climate change, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all have connections to some of the world’s dirtiest oil companies for the explicit purpose of getting more oil and gas out of the ground and onto the market faster and cheaper.
Contracts between tech firms and oil and gas companies are now found in every phase of the oil and gas production chain and are significantly undermining the climate commitments that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have made."
"Google claims to have been “carbon neutral” for the last 12 years, but only if you count the facilities it owns and not the factories that make its products and ship them. Last year for the second time in a row, the company claims to have “matched 100pc of the electricity consumption of our global operations with renewable energy”. Much of this is done through offsets.
But in 2018, the search giant pledged to do more. It wants its entire operation to run on carbon free energy "24 hours a day, seven days a week”. This, it says, will make it not just carbon neutral. But if you factor in the issue of supply chain and offsets, many would argue Google has a long way to go.
Microsoft said that it would remove “all of the carbon” from the environment that it has emitted since 1975, the year it was founded. This must be done by 2050, according to CEO Satya Nadella, who will do it by using carbon capture and storage technologies.
The logistics of how these will work and how they will be measured have yet to be revealed – but the company has already pledged $1 billion to the cause. The announcement made no reference to Microsoft’s heavily criticised partnerships with oil and gas companies."
"Halving emissions in a decade will require all companies to adopt circular business models to reduce material use. Some tech companies are leading the charge. Apple is committed to becoming 100% circular as soon as possible. While big tech companies strive to be market leaders here, many other companies lack essential knowledge. Tech companies can support rapid adoption in different economic sectors, not least because they have the know-how to scale innovations exponentially. It makes business sense. If economies of scale drive the price of recycled steel and aluminium down, everyone wins."
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